Elastic instruments and respiration systems

I would like to know what instruments precisely do you mean with non-rigid instruments (in Non-rigid instruments and respiration systems).

Non-rigid instruments include catheters,respiratory masks, respiratory tubes and so on...

Many non-rigid instruments require steam sterilisation for 5 mins. at 134°C. Is it also possible to sterilise these instruments for 18 mins. at 134°C to protect against prions?

In principle yes, but the instruments will be subject to faster ageing, in particular those made of natural latex/natural rubber, i.e. their service life will be limited.

How often can non-rigid instruments be sterilised/reprocessed?

There is no simple answer to this question on the basis of statistics. In fact, it automatically entails additional questions because the type of instrument or its history also plays a role: Which materials are the instruments made of? How old are the instruments? How were the instruments stored? What is the reprocessing history and has there been any interaction with disinfectants? There may well have been exposure to the materials of other instruments or other equipment. Instruments made from natural latex/rubber could already be damaged due to incorrect storage (influence of light, temperature, ozone), and such damage can even be aggravated by reprocessing processes. Mechanical damage is particularly problematic in the case of silicone elastomers as this may also lead to premature instrument failure. Experience has shown that instruments based on natural latex/rubber can tolerate up to 20 reprocessing cycles involving sterilisation, instruments with silicone elastomers may tolerate even more. If purely manual disinfection is used, elastic instruments can be reprocessed up to a 100 times.

Is it permissible to sterilise rubber sleeves and instruments in the same batch? Or must such products be processed separately?

Rubber caps should be removed from instruments but stored next to it on the tray during sterilisation to facilitate correct assignment when preparing for the operation. Note that if an item is in any way changed by your CSSD (Central Sterile Supply Department) staff - including mere cutting to size, for example -, the manufacturer's declaration of conformity may be void.