Biological Indicators

Biological and Chemical Indicators – What and Why? Leave a comment

What are Biological and Chemical Indicators?

Both Biological and Chemical Indicators are control tools. Testing and monitoring your autoclaves’ sterilization capabilities is their function. Helping ensure proper autoclave performance and instrument sterilization is their main goal. And they should be used on a cycle to cycle basis.

What is the difference between the two?

A biological indicator is used to ensure the chamber of your autoclave is getting completely saturated in the sterilization process. And the Chemical Indicators are used to be certain the steam is covering the entire load, and that the instruments are receiving the necessary amount of steam for proper sterilization.

How does a Biological Indicator Work?

Actually, with the system now available from Tuttnauer USA, it is quite simple. Just take the biological indicator and place it in the lower right-hand corner of the autoclave you are testing. That is the most difficult spot for an autoclave to sterilize properly. Next, you run a complete cycle as you normally would. If the biological indicator passes with a positive from that position then you know all the bacteria in your instruments have been eliminated.

What do I do after the cycle has completed?

Now take the ampoule out of the sterilizer. Next you close the top and then crack the ampoule. After cracking you want to rotate the ampoule back and forth four or five times and place it in the biological incubator to be tested.

I have multiple sized practices. Will one system be enough for the larger one?

Tuttnauer actually makes multiple sizes for different applications. There is a smaller incubator called the “MiniBio” designed for a physician’s office or dental practices. And there is also a larger one called the “BioNova” for use in ambulatory surgical centers, hospitals, and larger facilities.

These incubators are programmable as far as times and documentation purposes. This is an extremely important function for AAMI guidelines. And they will also print if the biological indicator passes or fails. Tuttnauer is the only company that manufactures a unit that includes all those functions together. Others don’t even offer the printout for keeping proper documentation.

The incubators are also able to do ST8 Challenge Packs for ambulatory surgical centers enabling them to more easily maintain their specific AAMI guidelines.

So then what is a Chemical Indicator?

Chemical Indicators are used to be certain that packs are getting completely covered, and properly penetrated with steam. There are regular chemical indicators, and there is chemical indicator tape. The CI Tape is placed on the outside of the pack to indicate that the packs have been properly covered with the steam during a cycle. And the Chemical Indicator goes inside the pack to ensure proper penetration so you know the instruments have been hit and sterilized with the steam.

Tuttnauer actually offers 20-minute biological indicators, as well as 1-hour biological indicators. These are the only indicators you need to test gravity, pre and post-vac units.

What about my mail in indicators that I use now?

Practices like to believe that the mail-in program is cheaper. Actually it can be much more expensive, and it is also very insufficient where AAMI sterilization guidelines are concerned.

Consider this… Test for a bacteria on Monday and mail your test in. Your results will be returned in approximately 4 to 6 days.

Now… what if you get back a failed result?

That means for 4 to 6 days (or more) you have insufficiently cleaned instruments multiple times and used them on all the patients since. Now you have to spend all that time (and money) to contact all those patients that trusted you. And you have also put the practice at risk by compromising the care of those patients.

It’s not difficult to see that it is much safer and monetarily sound to use a system in-house that gives you results at the end of every cycle you test.

How can I see the products and learn more about them?

That’s the simplest part of it all. Just contact us here and we will help you with all the information you need. We offer the products also and give you FREE TECHNICAL SUPPORT for installation, setup, and usage of them for life.

See all the Tuttnauer Biological Incubators & Indicators We Offer Here


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