Shelf life of sterilized packaged items stored in acute care hospital settings: Factors for consideration

Lakhan, P., Faoagali, J., Steinhardt,R. and Olesen, D. (2013) Shelf life of sterilized packaged items stored in acute care hospital settings: Factors for consideration. Healthcare Infection, 18 3: 121-129. doi:10.1071/HI13002

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Author Lakhan, P.
Faoagali, J.
Steinhardt,R.
Olesen, D.
Title Shelf life of sterilized packaged items stored in acute care hospital settings: Factors for consideration
Journal name Healthcare Infection   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1835-5617
1835-5625
Publication date 2013
Sub-type Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
DOI 10.1071/HI13002
Open Access Status
Volume 18
Issue 3
Start page 121
End page 129
Total pages 9
Place of publication Collingwood, VIC, Australia
Publisher C S I R O Publishing
Collection year 2014
Language eng
Subject 2725 Infectious Diseases
Abstract Introduction Reusable medical devices are sterilized and stored before their use in hospital settings. The length of time the sterilized item can be stored (shelf life) to maintain sterility has been discussed in the literature over the last four decades, with a shift to an event rather than time-related determination of shelf life. This paper reviews the evidence and provides a summary of some key issues for consideration when adopting event-related or time-based shelf life recommendations for packaged sterile items in Australian hospitals. Discussion Australian and international standards provide guidelines for procedures to be used for sterilization of reusable medical devices and storage conditions following sterilization. Reusable medical devices are sterilized by commercial manufacturers or sterilizing departments located in hospitals. Commercial manufacturers allocate expiry dates on sterilized items which should be respected, unless sterility is compromised by an event. The shelf life of items sterilized in hospital is debated, with growing support for event-rather than time-related sterility. Many factors determine whether event-or time-related shelf life should be followed. Well designed experimental studies into shelf life of sterilized items are lacking, with some small studies indicating that items can remain sterile for 12 to 24 months. Factors for consideration by hospitals are outlined and an algorithm to assist in implementation of event-related or time-based shelf life for reprocessed reusable medical devices is provided. Conclusion The method of determining shelf life in hospitals is dependent on adequacy of processes for sterilization, monitoring of sterility over time and storage conditions.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
Collections: Official 2014 Collection
School of Medicine Publications
 
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Created: Thu, 10 Apr 2014, 13:02:20 EST by Matthew Lamb on behalf of School of Medicine