Autoclave In Medical
A medical autoclave is a device that uses steam to sterilize equipment and other objects. This means that all bacteria, viruses, fungi, and spores are inactivated. However, prions, such as those associated with Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, may not be destroyed by autoclaving at the typical 134 °C for three minutes or 121 °C for 15 minutes. Although that a wide range species of archaea, including Geogemma barosii, can survive at temperatures above 121 °C, no archaea are known to be infectious or pose a health risk to humans; in fact their biochemistry is so vastly different from our own and their multiplication rate is far too slow for microbiologists to worry about them.
Autoclaves are found in many medical settings, laboratories, and other places that need to ensure the sterility of an object. Many procedures today employ single-use items rather than sterilizable, reusable items. This first happened with hypodermic needles, but today many surgical instruments are commonly single-use rather than reusable items . Autoclaves are of particular importance in poorer countries due to the much greater amount of equipment that is re-used. Providing stove-top or solar autoclaves to rural medical centres has been the subject of several proposed medical aid missions.
Because damp heat is used, heat-labile products cannot be sterilized this way or they will melt. Paper and other products that may be damaged by steam must also be sterilized another way. In all autoclaves, items should always be separated to allow the steam to penetrate the load evenly.
Autoclaving is often used to sterilize medical waste prior to disposal in the standard municipal solid waste stream. This application has become more common as an alternative to incineration due to environmental and health concerns raised because of the combustion by-products emitted by incinerators, especially from the small units which were commonly operated at individual hospitals. Incineration or a similar thermal oxidation process is still generally mandated for pathological waste and other very toxic and/or infectious medical waste.
In dentistry, autoclaves provide sterilisation of dental instruments according to health technical memorandum 01-05 (HTM01-05). According to HTM01-05, instruments can be kept, once sterilized using a vacuum autoclave for up to 12 months using sealed pouches.