Review Notes DETAILS
HANDLING, TRANSPORTATION AND STORAGE OF STERILIZED ITEMS
According to ANSI/AAMI ST79, the recommended minimum time to wait for sterilized item to cool down is 30 minutes.
Depending on the load contents, up to two hours may be required for the cooldown, starting from when the sterilizer door was opened.
Adequate time should be allowed to cool down the package to room temperature (( 64 degrees F to 72 degrees F )
Touching the sterilized package with cold hands while they are still hot can cause condensation, which will further result in formation of moisture on the package. Any bacteria on the hands of the technician could potentially be wicked into the moistened package.
When moving or transporting sterilized items to the storage area, they should be kept in a closed or covered cart with a solid bottom.
The sterilized items should be placed on the storage cart unstacked and should be moved to the storage area immediately after they have cooled down.
When carrying a wrapped sterile tray, the CS technician should carry the tray in front of themselves and parallel to the floor
When placing the wrapped items or sets on a storage shelf, they should NOT be dragged across the surface and should not be stacked on top of each other, instead they should be lifted off the shelf as dragging can potential tear or punch holes in the wrapping material
When storing a wrapped tray, it should not be stored on its side
To check the temperature of sterilized items after steam sterilization, the use of infrared thermometer is recommended.
Shelf life is defined as the length of time an item is considered sterile and safe to use
The shelf life of a packaged sterile item should be considered event-related.
This means that all sterilized packages should be considered sterile until an event occurs to compromise the package barrier integrity.
Shelf life of a sterilized item is not about how long the item has been stored, rather it is determined by the occurrence of an event to compromise the sterility of the package content.
The shelf life of the sterile item is based on:
Heavy wrapped instruments trays should be stored on middle shelved and not stacked on the shelves
Sterile items should not be stored in areas like underneath a sink where they can become wet
sterilized items should be stored in covered carts or closed cabinets