In most industries, where sterile equipment is needed in the work environment, autoclaves play an essential role.
Hospitals are one of the top fields that make use of this machine on a daily basis.
Way back in 1879, Charles Chamberland, one of the first to use and introduce autoclave, has shown the healthcare industry the importance of using this machine, rather than rely on using open flames for sterilisation.
Not long after, researchers have embraced the use of autoclaving and they are now widely used in most clinics and hospitals.
There is no denying that autoclaves play a crucial role in maintaining a sterile environment, especially in hospitals.
While the general use of this machine is mainly for sterilisation purposes, even for those industries outside the medical field, the applications may slightly vary for hospital use.
In a nutshell, items that are being sterilised within the hospital are:
- Lab Equipment and Supplies - This may include but are not limited to bottles, Petri dishes, beakers, test tubes, containers, flasks and more.
- Surgical Equipment - Knives, blades, scissors, scalpels, clamps, forceps, and other surgical equipment need to go in the autoclave machine before every single use.
- Clothing - Lastly, surgical drapes, gowns, gauzes, and bandages (some types) also need to be sterilised, thus, goes into an autoclave.
How Autoclaves Work and Why Hospitals Benefit from It
The majority of supplies that are found and used in the emergency room, delivery room, and most especially in the operating room need to be sterile.
A sterile environment starts with sterile supplies to ensure that patients don't get infected regardless if it's a minor or major procedure.
The main process of sterilisation with an autoclave machine starts with the use of steam.
This steam is then responsible for killing viruses, bacteria, germs, spores, and other microorganisms that are resistant to even the most powerful detergents and even boiling water.
These instruments are then placed inside an autoclave, where the heat from the steam is expected to be above boiling point.
Compared to using an open flame, this sterilisation technique has been proven to be the most effective way to get rid of those bacteria without taking too much time, and space.
Different Sizes of Autoclaves Used in the Hospital
Autoclave machines may vary in size. Some may be as small as a pressure cooker, while some others may look like a microwave oven.
For smaller surgical equipment, the smaller sizes may do - as it can still hold more than enough equipment to sterilise all at once.
On the other hand, there are also horizontal autoclave machines, which are significantly larger than the tabletop types.
These horizontal types are able to hold larger and more equipment at once.
Some are stacked together if the department needs small, but multiple autoclave machines.
In most hospitals, autoclaves may come in various sizes, depending on which department they're in, and its uses.
In the laboratory, a tabletop autoclave usually does the trick, but in operating rooms where larger surgical supplies are needed, the horizontal types are found, or sometimes, they're stacked together to save space.
There's no right or wrong choice - at the end of the day, it all boils down to what's needed by the hospital or department.
The use of autoclave machines in hospitals is undeniably one of the core "requirements" in order to run a sterile environment that meets government and departmental standards.
While there are various autoclaves out there in the market, doing your research, finding out which particular application you require and understanding the differences that each plays a crucial role in ensuring that you invest in a quality autoclave machine that is suited for your needs.
We were originally established in 1952 in order to provide electro-medical products to healthcare professionals across the country.
The company (Medical Equipment Services) was acquired by Medical Equipment Australia in 2009. Since then, we have also expanded into the dental industry.