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Thermal disinfection

1 definition

In the thermal disinfection it is a disinfection method based on strong heating of the objects to be disinfected. This process reduces the number of germs to a level that makes infection unlikely.

2 basics

The principle of disinfection was essentially shaped by Joseph Lister and Ignaz Semmelweis. Even then, it made a significant contribution to reducing morbidity. Today there are many different procedures and techniques to choose from.

The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) divides the various disinfectants and special disinfection processes according to their spectrum of activity:

The measures mentioned below generally capture the microorganisms of resistance groups A and B, which would be completely sufficient for the gastronomic and "normal" medical field. In the medical sector, these measures are used in particular for the reprocessing of medical products based on the recommendations of the Robert Koch Institute since 2001 so-called cleaning and disinfection devices (WDs), which must be validated according to the currently valid, legal requirements.[1][2]

3 procedures

Thermal disinfection is based on an increase in the ambient temperature, which from a certain level (depending on various factors) must lead to a reduction in the number of germs by at least 5 powers of ten (sterilization security level 10-5) so that the object or surface can be regarded as disinfected. Various methods are used here, which take into account the different resistance of the microorganisms.

3.1 Combustion, annealing, flaming

This method of the Burning, glowing or flaming is based on thermal heating by flames. This method was used frequently in the past, but it is very insecure because it cannot be standardized. Nowadays, this method is only used in certain laboratory areas (for example when annealing inoculation loops) and in thermal waste incineration.

3.2 Rinsing with hot water

At the Rinse off of objects and surfaces with strongly heated water, which should have a temperature of at least 90 ° C, it is possible to detect certain microorganisms with a sufficient exposure time (7-20 minutes).

3.3 Boiling

The Boil out is based on heating objects in boiling water. After a cooking time of 3-5 minutes, it kills microorganisms of resistance groups A and B.

However, these methods are not considered to be clearly verifiable or reproducible and are therefore ruled out in the medical field today. One speaks here of standardized procedures compared to the legally required validated procedures.

3.4 Steam disinfection

In the Steam disinfection A distinction is made between various methods, the common basis of which is the use of hot steam. In most cases, a temperature of 121 ° C or 134 ° C is reached, as this is the temperature that is most reliable for a successful thermal disinfection process. Because of the temperature difference, only different, so-called holding times are to be guaranteed, i.e. a guaranteed period of time at one of the temperatures mentioned above, around the already mentioned sterilization security level 10-5 to reach. In a washer-disinfector, the following temperatures are sufficient together with the detergents used.

3.4.1 Steam flow method

At the Steam flow method water vapor (100 ° C) flows around the object to be disinfected. Depending on the exposure time, different resistance groups can be recorded:

  • 5 minutes resistance group A + B
  • 15 minutes resistance group C

3.4.2 Fractional steam-vacuum disinfection

With the fractionated Steam vacuum disinfection water vapor is used at negative or positive pressure.

  • 20 minutes at 75-95 ° C and negative pressure resistance group A + B
  • 1 minutes 105 ° C and overpressure resistance group A + B
  • 5 minutes 105 ° C and overpressure resistance group A + B + C

3.4.3 Steam cycle process

in the Steam cycle process the steam-air mixture is used at 95-105 ° C and resistance groups A + B are killed after 15 minutes

4 sources

  1. ↑ Hygiene requirements for the reprocessing of medical devices Bundesgesundheitsbl - Gesundheitsforsch - Gesundheitsschutz, 2012
  2. ^ Infection prevention in dentistry - Hygiene requirements Bundesgesundheitsbl - Gesundheitsforsch - Gesundheitsschutz, 2006