Newsbrief

Expertly Curated Sterilization and Infection Control News
 
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An experienced veterinary technician gives tips on how to get the most from your Andersen Sterilizer.

Less than 2 min.

Topics designed to make your job easier.

Andersen Sterilizers Vet Tech Tips Video Series

Vet Tech Tips: Batteries & Electronics
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Batteries & Electronics

Did you know you can sterilize batteries and electronics? On this Vet Tech Tips episode Jacklyn Phillips, RVT, talks about how and why – they are entering your sterile field, after all!

Andersen Sterilizers Vet Tech Tips with Jacklyn Phillips, RVT
Batteries & Electronics

Today’s Tech Tip is about sterilizing electronics and batteries in your EO sterilizer.

All of these things on the table are compatible with EO gas. The electronics are great for this because there is no damage to the instrument while it goes through the cycle.

Batteries can be sterilized. We get a lot of questions about that. Battery packs are often the external part of a drill or saw that comes into a sterile field. As long as this is separated from the instrument itself it can be sterilized. So I would detach it, place it into a pouch and seal that. It can go in with the rest of your items in the sterilization cycle, as long as it’s separated. There’s a color change indicator on the back of this pouch here.

This battery is external being a part of your sterile field, there are also internal batteries that are inside the instruments that can be sterilized as well. The biggest thing, if there are multiple batteries in an instrument, you want to make sure they are in a single pouch per battery.

For any of these instruments and items, they are all going into your sterile field, so really this should be standard sterile processing. Just know how diverse the EO gas sterilizer is – that you are able to implement it for all of these instruments.

That’s it for today’s Tech Tip, call your Rep if you have any questions.

Vet Tech Tips: 12- and 24-Hour Cycles
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12- and 24-Hour Cycles

How do you choose between a 12- or 24-hour exposure cycle on your Anprolene sterilizer? On this Vet Tech Tips episode Jacklyn Phillips, RVT, will bring in sales manager and resident expert, Maria Zink, to talk through when you would choose the 24-hour “power cycle” and if there’s ever a need for two EO gas ampoules.

Andersen Sterilizers Vet Tech Tips with Jacklyn Phillips, RVT
12- and 24-Hour Cycles

Today’s Tech Tip is about 12- and 24-hour cycles and helping differentiate between them.

Today I have my sidekick, Maria Zink, with me – with Andersen Sterilizers. We will talk about 12- and 24-hour cycles, materials, consumables.

For the 12-hour cycle, reference back to one of the last videos we did – metals, small plastics, smaller loads – those are all appropriate for a 12-hour cycle. Now Maria can talk more about the materials in a 24-hour cycle and if there are any changes in your consumables.  

Thanks, Jacklyn. I love the video Jacklyn did previously about separating the items you are going to sterilize, much like you would separate your laundry.

The 24-hour cycle is your power cycle. This is specifically designed for items that would be considered gas-absorbent. A lot of people ask us, what exactly is gas-absorbent? What does that mean?

Well, anything that retains water is going to also retain a lot of gas. So, those are the items we would consider to be gas-absorbent. As well as any tubing that is over 3’ in length. When you have these items, you would run them on a 24-hour cycle using one gas ampoule.

A lot of people forget to maintain the right room temperature – which is 68°F– and the right humidity – which is 35%or greater. You want to set yourself up for success by ensuring all these parameters are in place before starting a 24-hour cycle.

Maria, in regards to the 24-hour cycle, in what instance would you use a second ampoule – or would you ever need that?

That’s a great question and we get it quite often. Our 24-hour cycle is designed so one ampoule is sufficient – as long as you are running a cycle with the appropriate temperature (which is 68°F or greater), you make sure you have your humidity level at 35% or above and the true tell-tale is the dosimeter (as long as your dosimeter reaches or surpasses the triangular mark, you know all your parameters for sterilization were met).

I know that doesn’t really answer the question, “Do you ever need two ampoules?” If you have a load full of really gas-absorbent materials where the bag is very full, in circumstances like that, yes, a second ampoule would be appropriate.

So, a lot of suction tubing, a lot of cloth draping materials, bandage materials and it’s a full bag – then you would potentially need a second ampoule.

Exactly.

Thanks, Maria. Glad to have you with me today. That’s it for today’s Tech Tip, call your Rep if you have any questions.

Products discussed in this video:
AN87 Anprolene Dosimeter
(Not pictured: AN1087 EOGas 4 Dosimeter)

Vet Tech Tips: Replacing Your Purge Probe
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Replacing Your Purge Probe

So you just got your new purge probe in the mail. Now what?! On this Vet Tech Tips episode Jacklyn Phillips, RVT, will walk you through how to replace the purge probe on your Andersen Anprolene sterilizer. Don’t worry, it’s a snap, once you know the trick!

Andersen Sterilizers Vet Tech Tips with Jacklyn Phillips, RVT
Replacing Your Purge Probe

Today’s Tech Tip is regarding your purge probe.

Two reasons it may need to be replaced:

  • Because its 5-year useful life. We do recommend it is replaced every 5 years. And
  • It might be broken. The black plastic piece between the probe and the tubing is a common place that it breaks. I often see technicians holding the probe by this plastic piece. It can break if there is a heavy load attached, you really need to hold it by the probe itself.

Disconnecting the old probe is pretty easy. You can use one hand to push up on the ring and the other to pull the hose down.

The connection between the probe and the tubing is a quick connect as well. This one is just a valve. Click to connect. Pull off.

When you’re replacing the probe, it ships connected to the tubing already. You push the end of the tubing firmly into the plastic ring inside the roof of the sterilizer – it’s easily attached so it’s secure.

That’s it for today. Call your Rep if you have any questions.

Vet Tech Tips: Emissions & Abators
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Emissions & Abators

On this Vet Tech Tips episode Jacklyn Phillips, RVT, will bring in sales manager and resident expert, Maria Zink, to talk about ethylene oxide emissions abatement and demonstrate how easy it is to connect your Andersen sterilizer to our abator.

Our systems are recognized for using a microdose of ethylene oxide and our emissions fall well below all federal guidelines. If you choose to abate, we have that option for you.

Andersen Sterilizers Vet Tech Tips with Jacklyn Phillips, RVT
Emissions & Abators

For today’s Tech Tip, I’m bringing in the expert, Maria. We’ll talk about emissions of EO gas. As you know, there’s only a tiny amount of gas that’s used per cycle. However, there might be some questions about emissions in your area. So, Maria can tell you about that.

Thanks, Jacklyn. This is something that Andersen Sterilizers has tackled before. We have always had the method to abate, or scrub, emissions before exhausting to the outside. Right here we have one of our Anprolene systems and our abator. This is the back view so Jacklyn can show you how easy it is to connect the Anprolene AN74j to our abator. There’s a quick connect portion here that you plug in to connect to the abator. It is a male and female part. What happens is, the ethylene oxide is filtered down to your abator where it is converted into biodegradable organic compounds.

So, Maria, these are sold by Andersen Sterilizers and my understanding is that they are readily available? Absolutely. Okay, so call your sales rep need more information about emissions or implementing this system to your existing sterilizer.

End tag: So, Jacklyn, after that Tech Tip, do you remember what the abator breaks ethylene oxide down to? Biodegradable organic compounds! [high five]

Products discussed in this video:
AN5100 Emissions Abator

Vet Tech Tips: EO & Metal Instruments
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Why use EO for Metal Instruments?

𝗪𝗵𝘆 𝘂𝘀𝗲 𝗲𝘁𝗵𝘆𝗹𝗲𝗻𝗲 𝗼𝘅𝗶𝗱𝗲 (𝗘𝗢) 𝗴𝗮𝘀 𝘁𝗼 𝘀𝘁𝗲𝗿𝗶𝗹𝗶𝘇𝗲 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗺𝗲𝘁𝗮𝗹 𝗶𝗻𝘀𝘁𝗿𝘂𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁𝘀? Autoclaves are perfect for metal, right? On this Vet Tech Tips episode, Jacklyn Phillips, RVT, gives two 𝗺𝗼𝗻𝗲𝘆-𝘀𝗮𝘃𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗿𝗲𝗮𝘀𝗼𝗻𝘀 you may consider ethylene oxide over your autoclave for metal sharps.

Andersen Sterilizers Vet Tech Tips with Jacklyn Phillips, RVT
Why use EO for Metal Instruments?

Today’s Tech Tips is regarding why we would use EO gas for metal instruments.

Something like orthopedic packs that have sharps like saws, pins, sharp scissors. That would be something to preserve your instruments utilizing EO gas.

Typically, we run metals through the autoclave – which isn’t wrong. But it does create a lot of wear and tear on the sharpness, on the box locks – through that heat and steam.

The EO gas sterilizer is complimentary to your autoclave – being non-corrosive, non-oxidative to the instruments, which retains their sharpness. You don’t have to send your instruments out for repair or replacement as often if you use the gas sterilizer for your metal instruments.

That’s it for today. Contact your Rep if you have any questions.

Vet Tech Tips: Sterilization Wrapping & Shelf Life
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Sterilization Wrapping Materials & Shelf Life

On this Vet Tech Tips episode Jacklyn Phillips, RVT, will answer one of the questions we get asked the most – what is the shelf life of items after sterilization? As you may have guessed based on the title, shelf life is determined based on wrapping materials.

Ethylene Oxide’s ability to penetrate wrapping materials, leaving a barrier between the sterilized instrument and the outside world is one of the major benefits of the method.

Andersen Sterilizers Vet Tech Tips with Jacklyn Phillips, RVT
Sterilization Wrapping Materials & Shelf Life

Today’s Tech Tip is about wrapping materials for your instruments as well as shelf life.

Most common would be something like CSR wrap. This comes on the big blue rolls that you have in the hospital, generally for your surgery packs. Then also drape material, so the cloth. These two you’re generally double wrapping, so consider that. Also consider your cycle time with the materials that you’re wrapping and how you’re sorting those things.

So with these, you wrap them like a package. There’s not an adhesive seal so these would have a 30-day shelf life. Also consider the Exposure Indicators for the inside of these packs that a lot of people like to utilize. If your doctor likes to see some kind of Indicator on the inside of their packs to give them that assurance that this pack has been sterilized.

Other sterile wrapping materials would include an adhesive self-seal pouch. And then the heat-sealed pouches. These are custom to the size and come in several different sizes and then you heat seal these pouches. These both greatly extend shelf life.

Certainly, follow your hospital protocols on how often you’re rotating those out. Again, you can use the Indicators on the inside of these pouches. And then consider the self-seal pouches, they have color change indicators on the outside of the packs relative to EO gas versus steam sterilization.

That’s it for today. Thank you!

Products discussed in this video:
AN880 Tyvek Roll
AN85 Exposure Indicator
(wrapping materials available from many sources)

Vet Tech Tips: What if I drop an Ampoule?
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What if I drop an EO ampoule?

On this Vet Tech Tips episode Jacklyn Phillips, RVT, will discuss what to do if you ever accidentally break an ethylene oxide (EO) ampoule.

Andersen Sterilizers Vet Tech Tips with Jacklyn Phillips, RVT
What if I drop an EO ampoule?

Today’s Tech Tip is about what to do if you accidentally drop an ampoule. So now the ampoule is broken. Most people’s response is to run. But that’s not the right answer.

You have about seven minutes before the gas starts permeating through the material of the liner bag.

No one is being exposed thus far. The right thing to do is to place it inside of the sterilizer and start a cycle.

As long as the sterilizer is running, it is ventilating. So everything is being ventilated out of the room, no one has been exposed, you got it from the area where it broke to the sterilizer in a timely matter – so there’s nothing else you need to do.

That’s it for today, thanks!

Vet Tech Tips: Humidity, it Matters!
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Humidity, it Matters!

Did you know humidity can be a key factor in EO sterilization cycle success or failure? On this Andersen Sterilizers Vet Tech Tips episode Jacklyn Phillips, RVT, will discuss the role humidity plays and how to ensure proper relative humidity during the sterilization cycle.

Andersen Sterilizers Vet Tech Tips with Jacklyn Phillips, RVT
Humidity, it Matters!

The required humidity is 35% for successful ethylene oxide sterilization. When we get questions about why that’s so important, think about the bacteria and it being desiccated – or dried out. These sponges are good examples. So this sponge is dried out, it is very firm, it has a crunchy outer shell. Versus a hydrated sponge is softer so that makes it easier for the ethylene oxide to come through.

In certain areas of the country, there is higher levels of humidity. Also consider if you’re washing your instruments, that provides humidity as well. Some instruments cannot be washed. So in that case, we would use a Humidichip and also in those areas of the country – like in the Midwest where it’s 10%-15% humidity all the time – then you would use several Humidichips.

So these come in their own pouches. These are hydrated cellulose strips. They just come out of the pouch and go into the Humiditube. These tubes go into the bag with all of your instruments to provide humidity throughout the rest of the cycle – to ensure the ethylene oxide is working through all of your instruments.

That’s it for today. Make sure to contact your Rep if you have any questions or if you’ve any issues with humidity in your sterilizer.

Products discussed in this video:
AN1071 Humidichip RH Stabilizer
AN1072 Humiditube

Vet Tech Tips: EO Indicators
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EO Indicators & Integrators

How can you see at a glance if a pack has been processed or not? More importantly, how can you be sure a cycle has been successful? On this Andersen Sterilizers Vet Tech Tips episode Jacklyn Phillips, RVT, will discuss ethylene oxide (EO) gas indicators and integrators, how we use them and why we need them.

Andersen Sterilizers Vet Tech Tips with Jacklyn Phillips, RVT
EO Indicators & Integrators

Today’s Tech Tip is about the different ethylene oxide (EO) gas indicators and integrators, how we use them and why we need them.

The first one is a chemical indicator. So this is just an exposure strip. It shows a strong color change when exposed to EO. There’s the stickers that we like to use on the outside of the packs.

And then there’s also the tape that’s great for clients that have EOGas 4, with heated cycles.

These indicators do not tell you that the pack is sterile, it only tells you that it has gone through a cycle and it has been exposed to gas.

For our integrator, more along the lines of sterile processing, will tell you that time, temperature and gas concentration have been met to achieve sterility. The Dosimeter goes in the entire load with all of your packs, ideally somewhere challenging for the gas to reach. And then the color change will reach the arrow to tell you the cycle was successful.

The last one is a biological indicator. This one has a bacteria strip with Bacillus atrophaeus, which is the most difficult spore for EO gas to kill. Some clinics may use this once a week, maybe once a month, as a kind of quality control to ensure that these cycles are successful. Then this gets incubated for 48 hours to look for color change, which ideally there is not. That’s it for today.

Products discussed in this video:
AN85 Exposure Indicator
AN2250 Indicator Tape
AN87 Anprolene Dosimeter 
(Not pictured: AN1087 EOGas 4 Dosimeter)
AN2203 Biological Indicator

Vet Tech Tip: Work Smarter Not Harder
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Work Smarter, Not Harder

On this Andersen Sterilizers Vet Tech Tips episode Jacklyn Phillips, RVT, will discuss how separating your absorbent and non-absorbent items and being strategic with your 12- and 24-hour sterilization cycles can save you time!

 

Andersen Sterilizers Vet Tech Tips with Jacklyn Phillips, RVT
Absorbent Vs. Non-Absorbent Materials
Today’s Tech Tip is regarding absorbent versus non-absorbent materials in your sterilization load. Differentiating between a 12-hour cycle and a 24-hour cycle. Creating some efficiency about how you run these cycles. Working smarter, not harder with this.

When we think about absorbent materials, I think about bandage material, vet wrap is pretty big on the absorbent side. Cloth, a lot of towels, maybe you sterilize your scrubs. Also consider your wrapping materials, if you’re wrapping with double cloth, that would be more absorbent.

Metals are non-absorbent. So if you would sort these out, like you would your laundry, into electronics/metals and maybe you run those Monday through Friday with your 12-hour cycle – then they’re good to go because you’re using them more frequently.

Versus, can you stockpile the bandage material, the cloth items into a weekend cycle (24-hour cycle and 24-hour aeration) where you start it on a Friday night, it runs all through the weekend and that way it’s completely aerated by Monday morning when you come in.

That’s it for today. Call your Rep if you have any questions about how to sort these items.

Interested in learning more?
Remember, you get FREE training for the life of your Andersen sterilizer. Reach out with questions about this Tech Tip, training or anything sterilization related. Your gas sterilization expert is standing by.

Andersen Sterilizers:
American manufacturer of gas sterilizers for the veterinary, plastic surgery, dental, medical & industrial markets. Family-owned and trusted for over 60 years. Our sterilizers are a vital infection control tool in thousands of practices across the globe. The most compatible & gentle sterilant on the market keeps your investments in like-new condition. Sterilize what you can’t put in your autoclave: Delicate instruments, plastic, fabric & more. Andersen Sterilizers: Preserve your instruments, Protect your patients.

Jacklyn Phillips, RVT, owns Action Vet Tech Services, a relief veterinary technician staffing and training company based in North Carolina.

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