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Medical_art  Autoclaves

Autoclaves are instruments used to sterilize and disinfect instruments or equipment and free them of any living organisms. Various techniques are used for the purpose like heating, chemical sterilization, or ultraviolet light. Autoclaves are widely used in hospitals and health care units to ensure sterility of an object, inspite of the emergence single use surgical instruments like forceps, syringes, scalpel handles etc.

The main purpose of an autoclave is to render any surgical tool inside sterile or free of any living organisms. Some Autoclaves have a timer, integral alarms that ring or flash to indicate time or temperature limits. In order to effectively decontaminate biohazardous materials from surgical tools, autoclaves must be used properly.


mode of operation of autoclaves
The mode of operation for the autoclave is different patterns of high heat, vacuum, and pressure which sterilize the load inside the autoclave. The materials used for sterilization determine the type of sterilization “runs” that are needed to be used. Controls for different autoclaves vary and therefore it is very essential to follow manufacturers’ instructions about load sizes, loading, and cycle types and settings.

Different types of autoclaves

  • Heat autoclaves: The most common source for autoclaving is heating. Here the autoclaves should maintain a temperature of at least 246 degrees for half an hour. Both dry heat or steam heat are used. For steam heat autoclaves, heated water vapors are used. Dry heat autoclaves are used for moisture sensitive surgical products or instruments .
  • Gas autoclaves: Also known as chemicalves, gas autoclaves use a vapor solution to sterilize its contents. Formaldehyde gas and Ethylene oxide are the sterilizing agents used in gas autoclaves. They consume lesser heat and take lesser time to complete the cycle.
  • Ultraviolet autoclaves: They produce UV light that kills the unwanted disease causing organisms.
  • Cold sterilization autoclaves: They use a cold sterilization liquid to sterilize the contents.
  • Laboratory autoclaves: They are used for general lab work, component and stability testing, core hardening, drying glassware, and sterilizing.
  • Stovetop autoclaves: In such autoclaves, the tools should always be separated to allow the steam to penetrate the load evenly.


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