J Korean Acad Adult Nurs.  1999 Jun;11(2):343-357.

The Measurement of the Contamination Period about the Storage Environment of Ethylene Oxide Gas Sterilized Packs Using in the Operating Room


The contamination period of the sterilized pack is influenced by the storage environment such as air contamination, temperature, humidity and the quality of the wrapping material. This study was conducted to provide basic data, for the expiration date of the EO gas sterilized pack (which was wrapped with polypropylene / polyester one side and paper the other side) by investigating the storage environment and monthly contamination period. The duration of study was 12 months, from Dec. 1, 1997 to Nov. 30, 1998. A total of 144 EO gas sterilized packs were kept in six storage cabinets of storage area after selecting four Operating Room, the Central Supply Department and General Surgery Clinic of one University Hospital in Taegu city. The samples were cultured in fluid thioglycolate media 30m1 in 37degrees C incubator for 48 hours. Air microbial bioburden in the six storage area and storage cabinet was monitored by exposing blood agar plate for fit teen minutes and culture were observed at 37t incubator for 2 thours. Temperature and Humidity were investigated four times(8 am, 2, 5, & 10 pm) a day and the mean values calculated. The results of this study are as follows 1. There was no contaminations in EO gas sterilized packs for 12 months observation. 2. The mean air contamination rate of storage area and cabinet in Operating Room was 4.9 CFU and 2.4 CPU during observation period. The mean air contamination rate of storage area and cabinet was 4.2 CPU and 2.2 CPU each during observation period. The rate of air contamination in storage room was at least twice than that of storage in Operating Room. The period that showed highest air contamination was in Feb. 98 as 9.2 CPU and the lowest in Mar. 98 as 1.1 CPU. 3. The predominant microorganisms were gram post five staphylococci, gram negative staphylococci in all storage environment, gram positive bacilli, gram negative bacilli in C cabinet of Operating Room and storage area in General Surgery Clinic, Fungi in storage area of Operating Room. 4. The mean temperature was 24.9+/-0.6degrees C(mean standard deviation) in storage area and 24.8+/-0.5degrees C in storage cabinet of Operating Room. The temperature was not differentiated between storage area and cabinet of Operating Room. The mean humidity was 63.6 7.3% (mean standard deviation) in storage area, 663+/-7.9% in cabinet of Operating Room. The humidity was observed high rate in storage area than cabinet of the six area environment. There was no growth of microorganism in sterilized packs during the observation. So we concluded that the contamination period of EQ gas sterilized packs was over 12 months. The high rate of air contamination in storage area might increase the degree of contamination of sterilized packs and the infection rate of operative wound. So the methods which could reduce the air contamination should be developed.

MeSH Terms

Ethylene Oxide*
Operating Rooms*
Wounds and Injuries
Ethylene Oxide
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