Spore Testing Safety Check

From time to time I get a call from an office who has been told by SPS Medical or some other spore testing laboratory that the sterilizer in their office has failed a spore test. They are then told not to discontinue use of that sterilizer until it has been re-tested and passed. That wait can be too long for some offices, especially if said office only has one sterilizer. This can be stressful for both of us. First off it has been and always will be our recommendation that an office retain or acquire a “back-up” sterilizer for situations like this.

We have both rental units and loaner units available, but sometimes the delay between when you get a fail and when we are able to get out with a sterilizer may be hours, or sometimes even days. We rent sterilizers when service work is being done by someone other than us. Loaner sterilizers are always free to any of our customers that use us to repair their broken sterilizer.

Many times this “spore-test failure” can be due to user error. (A common failure is over-loading the chamber or not securing the spore test to the wire rack inside of a Stat-m.) If a user error causes a spore test failure, it can be extremely frustrating.

We have a product available that can be run in every cycle, or when you are having troubles with a sterilizer and want to be assured of a good cycle. The test strips are referred to as SSIs (Steam Sterilization Intergrators) and the manufacturer considers them to be equal to spore tests in effectiveness. The SSIs are available in boxes of 100 tests. We recommend that SSIs not be used as replacements for weekly testing of your sterilizer. However, use of these SSI tests can be a very helpful tool when quick reliable testing of your sterilizer is required.

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