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Designing Room Pressures In CSSD

Updated: Mar 10, 2022


Light bulb - Thought of the Week

To maintain proper airflow in the Central Sterile Supply Department (CSSD), room pressures are critical. Positive airflow flows to negative reducing the chance for contaminants to enter the space. Negative airflow does just the opposite, maintaining airflow within the space and minimizing the escape of contamination.

Overly simplifying the process, clean areas need positive airflow, and soiled areas need a negative airflow. Managing the consistency of air pressure within each space is the challenge. In CSSD, access to the workspace can vary and create opportunities for air balancing issues. Some of the challenges are:

Pass-Through Windows from Prep/Pack to Decontamination

Drop off or Pick Up Windows or Cabinets

Adjacent hallways and corridors

Mechanical Spaces

Cart Washers

Each workspace, whether positive or negative, must maintain pressures to all adjacent areas. An example is that the main door to CSSD may lead to a clean work area and must maintain a positive airflow to the adjacent access point (usually non-restrictive). The clean work area also must maintain a positive air pressure to all other access points like office areas, decontamination, sterilization maintenance areas, or any other access point. Difficulties exist when contrasting workspaces like decontamination and prep/pack have access points to the same corridor. The corridor must have enough airflow to maintain a positive airflow towards decontamination, but not so positive that it can't maintain a negative flow regarding prep/pack.

When designing CSSD, it is advantageous to minimize as many penetrations points between workspaces or access points. It will simplify the air balancing process while minimizing the number of points that need to be monitored for workspace compliance.



At Evolved Sterile Processing, our consultants have a greater focus on sterile processing. With our decades of experience, we will help you develop better processes and educational resources for your staff.

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