Skip to Site Navigation Skip to Site Navigation Skip to Main Content All 3M.com Site Map
3M™ Sterile U
Best Practices
Find us on: Facebook
Twitter
YouTube

Load Control

The process by which a load is monitored and released, based on the result of a biological indicator (BI) in a "Process Challenge Device," or test pack.

The 3M recommended best practice is to monitor every load with a biological indicator (BI) to achieve the highest possible level of sterilization assurance.

For loads containing implantable devices, a Process Challenge Device (PCD) containing both a BI and a Class 5 integrating indicator should be used in order to comply with current AAMI ST79 standards. If an emergency situation requires an implant be released before the BI result is known, the Class 5 Integrating Indicator will provide more information regarding sterility of that item than only the sterilizer physical monitors.

Over the long run, regular use of a BI is cost-effective, because a BI detects the actual killing of microbial spores inside the sterilizer. This reduces the risk of recall, the release of contaminated loads and patient infections. Chemical indicators, or CIs, only indicate that one or more of the critical parameters for achieving sterilization have been met.

Because it is impractical to quarantine every load for many hours or days, as would be the case with conventional BIs, 3M recommends the use of 3M™ Attest™ Rapid Readout Biological Indicators and Test Packs, designed to give results in as little as 1-4 hours, depending on the configuration and process.

Application
The Attest rapid readout BI should be placed in a test package or tray that is representative of the load being processed, and which creates the greatest and most appropriate challenge to the sterilization process.

Reminder: In preparing a load, follow the instructions provided by the manufacturers of the surgical instruments, sterilizer and container systems. The density of wrapped packages should follow AAMI guidelines. Hold instruments open and unlocked. Do not place paper/plastic peel pouches in a container or wrapped set.

Learn More
For detailed information on load control procedures and product usage, please refer to the following documents (requires Adobe® Reader® or Adobe® Acrobat®):

Load Control Monitoring Process Challenge Devices, HealthVIE © June 2010 (PDF, 581 KB)

Understanding the safety margin built into BI monitoring © 3M 2009 (PDF, 416 KB)

Living Organisms for Sterility Assurance - Biological Indiators © 3M 2009 (PDF, 528 KB)

Every Load Monitoring Best Practices

Load Control Product Information



Bookmark this page
U.S. Customers



Contact Us
Technical Support

3M Healthcare Tech Line for Sterilization
1-800-228-3957
Live  Chat
Available
7:30 a.m.-
6:00 p.m. CST.
Live chat by BoldChat

Customers Outside U.S.
For inquiries and
customer support, please
contact your local 3M
sales representative.