Sterilization Equipment: 2 Types Of Autoclaves

According to reports published in the Pr-Inside.Com, the overall sales of sterilization equipment in the US were approximately $1 billion in 2009. This figure is expected to increase to $1.2 billion by 2014. Health care professionals and patients are increasingly becoming concerned about the spread of deadly diseases and complications caused by the transmission of pathogens via medical instruments. More and more health care providers are focusing their attention on infection control.

Proper sterilization can prevent microbial contamination of medical instruments and protect patients and doctors from various infectious diseases. Instruments can be sterilized with the help of high pressure, heat, irradiation and chemical solutions.

Sterilization Equipment: Different Types of Autoclaves

An autoclave is a type of sterilization equipment that is used to sterilize instruments used in hospitals, clinics, beauty parlors, tattoo parlors and piercing stores. The basic function of the device is to kill pathogenic microorganisms.

Pathogens are killed by applying extreme heat, pressure and steam to the instruments placed inside the sterilization chamber. The pressure maintained inside the chamber is usually 15 pound (lb)/inch2 in excess of the normal atmospheric pressure. However, the total time taken to attain complete sterility depends on the volume of the articles and type of material used in them. The two different types of autoclaves are:

Downward Displacement

The downward displacement autoclave sterilizer is also known as a gravity displacement unit. It uses a heating element to heat up the water and produce steam. The steam, which is lighter than air, forces the air inside the sterilization chamber to move downward. Eventually the air moves out through the drain hole of the sterilization chamber. Once the temperature in the chamber is sufficient, the hole is automatically closed and the sterilization process is started.

Positive Pressure Displacement

This sterilization equipment is an improved version of the downward displacement autoclave. It uses a separate chamber to create and hold steam. Once sufficient amount of steam is accumulated, it is released into the sterilization unit in a pressurized blast. This forces the air to move out through the drain hole and starts the sterilization process.

Other autoclaves available in the market today include the negative pressure displacement, triple vacuum, type “N” unit and type “B” unit autoclaves.

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