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Wet Sets – a common issue with multiple root causes

RWet Sets after sterilization are usually noticed when the set is opened in the OR. Until then, the moisture has had a long time to work on the steel and causes corrosion and the set is regarded as unsterile and cannot be used.

Many times these issue are just addressed by longer drying times of the sterilizer but contributing factors can be much more:

  • Heavy Sets

  • Sets with a lot of plastic material

  • Sterile barrier System

  • Load Configuration (heavy items to the bottom), mixed load are always more difficult

  • Total weight of load in the chamber

  • Steam Quality (e. g. wet steam)

  • Sterilizer Cycle (dry time, fractioned vacuum etc.)

  • Vacuum level

It depends on the individual situation how a wet set challenge can be tackled best. The first step is to record each wet set and track it back to sterilizer, date and load configuration. Before changing sterilizer cycle, splitting critical sets, changing sterile barriers or establishing a different load pattern should be considered. If in doubt a specialized consultant may help.

About the author

Gerhard Kirmse is the Director of the Competence Center CSSD at Aesculap and member of the AKI Group. As a Biomedical Engineer with a doctorate about cleaning of instrument he works in research and performed consulting in more than 400 CSSDs worldwide.

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