Validating an autoclave

In late 2006, AAMI released the document intended to supersede 11134, with ANSI/AAMI/ISO 17665-06 Sterilization of health care products — Moist heat — Part 1: Requirements for the development, validation, and routine control of a sterilization process for medical is anticipated that the new 17665 standard will be recognized by the FDA and will be commonly employed to validate autoclave processes.When compared with the previous steam document, the new 17665 also has more information on product and process characterization, sterilizing agent characterization, installation qualification/IQ, and operational qualification/OQ.The new document also states more clearly that a fully compliant validation is not just a series of successful halfcycles,but is the full complement of successful IQ, OQ, and PQ.The product definition and process definition sections of the new document list things such as product specifications, product families, packaging, re-sterilizationissues, package moisture, stability and potency of container products, re-usablecontainer systems, process challenge devices/PCDs, sterility assurance level/SAL, BIs and CIs, and bioburden determination if necessary.

There are many other activities or decisions to be made prior to or during the IQ/OQ, that are not necessarily detailed in either standard.In our case, successful means all BIs are killed (no growth upon incubation) for the three consecutive halfcycles.If, for example, there was no BI growth for the three test cycles at ten minutes exposure at 121 °C, then a 20-minute exposure at the same temperature would be adequate for routine daily processing, assuming all other aspects or requirements of the IQ/OQ/PQ are successful, documented, reviewed, and approved.For decades, steam sterilization (autoclaving) has been an integral part in the manufacturing, cleanroom, and laboratory processes for the medical device, pharmaceutical, biologics, and human tissue/HCTP industries.It has been a common industry practice to validate steam sterilizers using the published guideline ISO 11134 Sterilization of health care products — Requirements for validation and routine control - Industrial moist heat sterilization, issued in 1994.

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