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DENT 1137 Course Guide: Week 6 & 7

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Sterilization Failure - In the News

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Dental Tool Sterilizer
Dental Tool Sterilizer. [Photograph]. Retrieved from Encyclopædia Britannica ImageQuest.

Troubleshooting Failed Sterilization Loads

Article Highlights

  • Sterility assurance requires continuous attention to the sterilizer performance, as well as all aspects of the sterilization process.
  • Process failures can be troubling to investigate, due to the complexity of the entire sterilization process.
  • There are three types of sterilization monitors; physical, chemical and biological.
  • A failed or suspicious physical, chemical and or biological indicator indicates a questionable sterilization load.
  • The current edition of ANSI/AAMI ST79 contains very useful and practical tools to help in the investigation of sterilization process failures and/or wet loads. 
  • Safe and effective requires continuous quality improvement processes, proper staff competencies, risk assessments and proper and consistent use of all sterilization monitoring tools to include physical, chemical and biological.

Interested in reading more? Click on the citation link below.

Rose Seavey, Troubleshooting failed sterilization loads: Process failures and wet packs/loads, In American Journal of Infection Control, Volume 44, Issue 5, Supplement, 2016, Pages e29-e34, ISSN 0196-6553,

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