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January 23, 1967

Sterilization of Anesthesia Apparatus

Author Affiliations

From the departments of anesthesia (Drs. Meeks and Pembleton) and clinical pathology (Dr. Hench), Medical College of Virginia, Richmond.

JAMA. 1967;199(4):276-278. doi:10.1001/jama.1967.03120040086022

THE importance of sterilization of anesthesia equipment and the relationship between contaminated equipment and subsequent infection has not been established.

It has been recommended that since anesthesia equipment is exposed to a heavily contaminated area of the body meticulous care should be exercised in the handling and sterilization of apparatus.1 Other workers, however, have either failed to detect significant contamination in a considerable part of the apparatus2 or have concluded that it was unlikely that cross-infection would occur.3-5

Sterilization of anesthesia equipment presents a rather difficult problem. Although certain items can apparently be sterilized by satisfactory techniques, bulky rubber items do not lend themselves to these techniques, and, in addition, must be processed in considerable quantity to meet the demands of a busy operating schedule. Germicides which are effective against certain organisms under certain conditions may be unsatisfactory under other conditions. Chemicals which have been found to