Ethylene Oxide: Understanding Its Uses And Safety For Medical Equipment

Medical equipment sterilization is vital to ensure patients are kept safe from germs and bacteria. While there are several types of sterilization available, ethylene oxide is widely used to ensure medical devices are safe for patient use.

If you're unfamiliar with EO device sterilization, learning more about it can help you understand this sterilization method.

What Is Ethylene Oxide?

Ethylene oxide is a gas. The gas is colorless but also flammable. It is also one of the most effective sterilants available for the safe disinfection of medical equipment.

It sterilizes equipment by tearing apart cell membranes. This destruction causes harmful microorganisms to die. EO is an excellent disinfectant for medical devices that can't undergo other types of sterilization, like moist heat, that can damage the equipment.

How Are Medical Devices Sterilized?

Hospitals and other medical facilities must ensure all medical devices are sterile for use. A variety of sterilization methods exist, including ethylene oxide gas.

  • Moist and Dry heat
  • Radiation
  • Vaporized hydrogen peroxide
  • Nitrogen oxide

While the sterilization methods are effective, some medical equipment requires a higher level of disinfection. This is where EO sterilization services are necessary.

What Medical Equipment Is EO Sterilized?

Medical facilities use EO sterilization for a large majority of supplies. This sterilization process is used for medical devices that require a high level of disinfection. Using EO sterilization also ensures these important medical devices are not damaged while undergoing the sterilization process.

Some of the most critical and common medical supplies require EO sterilization.

  • Catheters
  • Syringes
  • Bandages
  • Gauze
  • Pacemakers
  • Plastic surgical gowns

While the ability to sterilize heat and moisture-sensitive equipment makes it a good choice, there are disadvantages to using EO sterilization.

What Are The Disadvantages Of EO Sterilization?

There are some disadvantages to using the EO sterilization service. However, keep in mind it is a safe method of sterilizing medical equipment. Medical facilities have used this method for decades.

Some disadvantages include the following.

  • Cycle time
  • Cost
  • Potential hazards to people

To ensure the safety of patients and staff, only those trained in using and working with Ethylene oxide should sterilize equipment. Medical facilities use EO sterilization services to ensure the disinfection is done safely.

Sterilized equipment is a must in any hospital or medical facility. EO sterilization is widely used to ensure important medical devices are free of harmful bacteria and germs. When trained professionals use the EO sterilization process, it is both safe and effective.