The Pressure for Sterile Medical Equipment

Welcome to All Sensors “Put the Pressure on Us” blog. This blog brings out pressure sensor aspects in a variety of applications inspired by headlines, consumer and industry requirements, market research, government activities, and you.

The Pressure for Sterile Medical Equipment

Pressure and temperature are well-known medical measurements to indicate a patient’s health or detect an ailment. However, many people are unaware that these same two parameters, in a controlled environment, are essential to any medical or dental procedure that involves reusable instruments. To disinfect and sterilize surgical instruments and hospital equipment, objects are processed through an autoclave that uses high pressure and steam. The temperature, pressure and amount of time required to destroy bacteria, viruses and fungi vary depending on the item being sterilized. For the pressure value, this can be 15 psi above atmospheric pressure, 30 psi or 20 -40 psi for a chemical vapor process. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Pressure serves as a means to obtain the high temperatures necessary to quickly kill microorganisms.”

Temperature and Pressure Gauges

The gauges on the right-hand side of this autoclave indicate temperature and pressure. Photo by PHAA Sarna courtesy of US Navy.

When monitoring and validation data are required, pressure transmitters are used in autoclaves. However, in cases where an autoclave is not available, for example, for rural and home sterilization, a domestic pressure cooker can even be used for sterilizing objects such as needles, syringes, and nursing bottles.

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