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Ang CY, Yew A, Tay D, Chia SL, Yeo SJ, Lo NN, Chin PL
Correspondence: Dr Ang Chay-You, firstname.lastname@example.org
INTRODUCTION The Singapore General Hospital Bone Bank, which exclusively stores femoral head allografts, relies on flash sterilisation to prevent allograft-related disease transmission and wound infection. However, intraosseous temperatures during autoclaving may be lower than required to eliminate human immunodeficiency virus, and hepatitis B and C viruses. The aim of this study is to determine the intraosseous temperatures of femoral head allografts during autoclaving and to assess the adequacy of autoclaving in preventing disease transmission.
METHODS Six femoral heads were acquired from patients who underwent hip arthroplasty. The specimens were divided into two groups. The first group underwent flash sterilisation with a sterilisation time of 4 min, while a longer sterilisation time of 22 min was used for the second group.
RESULTS The highest core temperature in the first group was 130°C, while the core temperatures in the second group plateaued at 133°C for all allografts. In the first group, only smaller allografts maintained temperatures sufficient for the inactivation of the clinically relevant viral pathogens. In contrast, all allografts in the second group were terminally sterilised.
CONCLUSION There is an inverse correlation between the size of allografts and intraosseous temperatures achieved during autoclaving. Therefore, we recommend dividing large allografts into smaller pieces, in order to achieve intraosseous temperatures adequate for the elimination of transmissible pathogens during flash sterilisation. Allografts should not be terminally sterilised, as the resulting allografts will become unusable. Despite modern processing techniques, stringent donor selection remains vital in the effort to prevent allograft-related infections. Autoclaving is an economical and efficacious method of preventing allograft-related disease transmission.
Keywords: allografts, autoclaving, bone bank, disease transmission, femoral heads
Singapore Med J 2014; 55(10): 526-528; http://dx.doi.org/10.11622/smedj.2014135
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