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A Guide to Maintaining and Cleaning Instruments

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cardiac surgery instruments

High-quality cardiac surgery instruments are essentials. However, it is crucial to care and handle these tools properly. Without proper maintenance, these valuable tools may not last very long and might even begin to malfunction. However, the stakes are a lot higher than function or longevity. Improper maintenance of surgical instruments increases adverse clinical risks and leads to unnecessary expenses. These valuable tools are essential for quality medical care and operational efficiency – ultimately, lives are on the line.

Cleaning Tools – Manual versus Automated

Reusable surgical instruments may be cleaned using CE marked or validated washer-disinfector machines or manual interventions. However, manual cleaning is appropriate for only a minimal list of cardiac surgery instruments.

Levels of Instrument Care

Cleaning, disinfecting, and sterilization are three levels of instrument care. Cleaning removes debris, dirt, and all biological materials from instruments. Disinfection gets rid of certain viruses, fungi, vegetative bacteria, and bacterial spores. Sterilization, the final stage, destroys all forms of microbial life. While these three levels of surgical instrument care are essential, every instrument has its dedicated cleaning, disinfection, or sterilization procedure.

Identifying Issues

Cardiac surgical instruments should also be tested and inspected every time concerning their structural and functional features. Look out for cracks, pitting corrosions, water stains, loose set pins, chippings of inserts or plated surfaces as well as misalignments. Problems like this indicate that such surgical instruments can no longer be adequately sterilized. They can easily trap organic contaminants or, in worse case scenarios, break during use. Such events can lead to longer surgeries, unnecessary internal trauma, and longer recovery time for patients.

Also, bear in mind that although all of these factors are common in most inspections, every instrument is different and should have its function testing protocol.

If all maintenance protocols are correctly handled, there will be less need for replacements. Instruments will last longer, and there will be no unnecessary risks or complications during surgery. Adequate care and handling not only improves longevity and function but also provides sufficient support for the surgeon to operate with precision. 

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