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Plastic / Rubber - Stress Cracks

Type of Surface Change       

Stress-crack corrosion, e.g. in polysulphone, leads to visible cracks or fractures.
Origin & Causes       

Stress cracks tend to occur in those areas of a medical device in which increased "built-in" (internal) stresses are present for manufacturing reasons. Under specific instrument processing conditions (e.g. insufficient rinsing, high temperatures, presence of certain surface-active chemicals), cracks tend to develop in these areas.

Treatment Recommendations       

None (correction impossible).
Preventive Measures       

Adequate tempering as part of the manufacturing process can minimize internal stress (e.g. in polysulphone products). The manufacturer's cleaning/preparation-for-reuse instructions should always be observed.

Risk Assessment       

Affected instruments should be withdrawn from service (and the instrument processing cycle) at once for reasons of patient and user safety!