Sterilisation of instruments

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See also Hot Bead Sterilisers.

The text on this page is taken from an informal compilation of opinions of contributors to the online VOLE List. As such, they are not peer reviewed and may contain differences of opinion. Those wishing to contact the list may contact Adrian Smith.

I am wondering if anyone has experience with using glutaraldehyde to sterilise datalogger type devices prior to internal implantation (especially intraperitoneal)? I can only find glutaraldehyde products indicated for effectively 'external' use (e.g. sterilising endoscopes), so I am quite concerned about tissue irritancy etc, should any residue remain.

From personal experience I would avoid glutaraldehyde when sterilising data logging devices prior to intraperitoneal implantation if at all possible. It does indeed have the potential to cause tissue irritation which can lead to peritonitis despite otherwise good aseptic practice.

Switching to Ethylene Oxide sterilisation completely eliminated this issue for a team I have worked with, who assured me they had previously routinely sterilised their data logging implants with glutaraldehyde with no ill effects.

My opinion was that glutaraldehyde residue was triggering their post surgical problems leading to essentially a foreign body reaction.

The switch to Ethylene Oxide resulted in successful surgery with no further distressing outcomes for the animals involved.

I would agree - no to glutaradehyde and yes to ethylene oxide - with the one proviso that the EtO-sterilised materials must be allowed to air properly (absolute minimum of 7 days, ideally 14) otherwise you can see the same issue.

I also agree, but with the length of time needed to air the equipment partly depends on the company you got the cabinet from, and if it heats when the  EtO is being used and how good the negative pressure is throughout the cycle to remove all residual EtO. Testmedical have a heated cabinet (to 54C) and it has a 16-hour cycle including aeration that allows immediate use after removal.