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How Do You Measure Immediate Use Sterilization?

Immediate use sterilization (IUSS), a sterilization cycle designed to be used immediately after the sterilization cycle is completed. Transportation devices must transfer items to the sterile field without contaminating the product during handling while uncooled. Another key difference to standard sterilization cycles is the drying portion of the cycle is usually negated or minimized to just a couple of minutes. The instruments within the transportation device are usually wet at the time of use. Instruments should also only be used on the patient for which they were sterilized.

Immediate use sterilization ( formerly known as flash sterilization) is considered a higher risk to the patient's well-being and thus must be tracked to the patient. There is not a national standard for what percent of instruments is acceptable to be immediate-use sterilized. Hospitals and healthcare systems differ in the amount of IUSS percentages. The overall goal is to minimize IUSS sterilization and only perform such cycles in emergent or urgent situations.

IUSS percentages are measured by dividing the number of IUSS cycles by the number of OR cases performed during a specific period, usually monthly. This is the actual number of opportunities the facility had to negatively impact their OR patient population. Some divide their IUSS trays by the number of overall trays processed, which significantly reduces the percentage.

The key to proper IUSS sterilization is following the IFU's from the sterilizer manufacturer, instrument manufacturer, and transportation device manufacturer. Not all instrumentation is approved to be immediate-use sterilize, nor are all transportation devices. You may even want to take an additional step in reviewing your product's FDA 510k approval.

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