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What Are Some Questions to Ask Facilities Engineering?

AAMI ST79:2017 speaks to the requirements of each hospital's Facilities Engineering department, stating that they must test AND document that the steam saturation percentages and non- condensable gasses are within specified parameters. You could always ask to see that documentation.

In addition, you might also inquire as to what they do to treat the water used to make the steam. In order to maintain the boiler and the steam supply lines, special additives are used to adjust the pH, remove scale, etc. Sometimes these additives are harmful to surgical instrumentation.

I would also find out where they are collecting their samples from. 97-100% saturated steam with less than 3.5% non condensable gasses is required, but those percentages can be vastly different in the steam supply lines and on the inside of the autoclave chamber.

ST79 does not give guidance to as to where the testing should be done (or where samples should be taken), but since our main concern is the sterilization of surgical instruments, then it would make sense for the testing to be performed in the same location that the instruments are sterilized; i.e. on the inside of the autoclave.


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