Survey of Liquid Sterilants and High Level Disinfectants

As discussed in the previous blog article, ChemDAQ was pleased to see many new and familiar faces at the recent IAHCSMM show. This show is almost exclusively attended by people who are responsible for or who work in sterile processing departments. As part of the show we asked attendees to complete a short information card in exchange for being entered into a competition to win some prizes. This survey is not a scientific random sample, but it probably shows a reasonable snap-shot of low temperature chemical sterilization in the US today.

The survey asked which chemicals were used for high level disinfection and sterilization and which manufacturers equipment was used, but the survey did not ask about specific models. We had about 175 respondents and eliminated entries that did not list the chemicals and equipment, and multiple people from the same institution. There were not enough responses from outside the US to be able to draw any conclusions and so non-US facilities were also excluded.

Some of the numbers may not add up exactly because of rounding errors. In the end we had responses from 117 institutions from people who used low temperature sterilants (ethylene oxide and hydrogen peroxide) but of these responses only 69 (59%) indicated that they performed liquid sterilization or high level disinfection. It is not clear why more responses were not completed for the liquid sterilants and high level disinfectants. The statistics below therefore are based on a population of 69.

Of the chemicals used, 54 (78%) used peracetic acid (PAA), 26 (38%) used o-phthalaldehdye (OPA) and 14 (20%) used glutaraldehyde. These results indicate that PAA is the dominant liquid sterilant/high level disinfectant in use today. Glutaraldehyde which used to be the dominant high level disinfectant in the past is now relegated to third place behind OPA.

Among the PAA users 27 (50%) use Steris, 21 (39%) use Medivator, 9 (17%) use Custom Ultrasonics and 8 (15%) use Olympus equipment.

For OPA use, the equipment is evenly split between Steris and Custom Ultrasonics with 11 users each and four unspecified.

For glutaraldehyde, with 14 users, the two manufacturers again are Steris and Custom Ultrasonics with 7 (50%) and 5 (36%) users each, with two users unspecified.

We hope you found the results of this survey interesting and would like to thank everyone who completed their survey cards at the IAHCSMM show.