All healthcare establishments are required to carry out sterilization operations regularly to protect healthcare professionals against pathogens responsible for communicable diseases. These activities are governed by Legislative Decree No. 81/2008 as amended and supplemented , which sets out the specific measures to be observed to enable the managers of said healthcare establishments to ensure the proper application of all the procedures necessary for sterilization and decontamination of surgical instruments and workspaces.
Hospitals, dispensaries, private practices and other veterinary clinics are not the only ones to be subject to these legal obligations. Dental offices also fall under this decree and must adopt the same health and safety measures, both for patients and for the health professionals themselves.
It is with this in mind that specific autoclaves have been created capable of eliminating the micro-organisms that contaminate the instruments, thanks to the physical action of heat .
And who says effective instrument decontamination, says proper maintenance of autoclaves. Each machine must therefore be regularly subjected to specific control cycles, essential to assess its proper functioning.
Autoclaves are generally equipped with a sterilization cycle A, responsible for decontaminating equipment and instruments, and a cycle B, responsible for evaluating the proper functioning of the autoclave.
In accordance with Legislative Decree No. 81/2008 as amended and supplemented, autoclaves must be subjected to the Prion Test , a specific B cycle which performs special sterilization of the chamber and potentially infected instruments by the prion responsible for the Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, better known as Mad Cow Syndrome.
In view of this extremely important element, all dental autoclaves must be provided with the Prion Test, a cycle during which the material and the sterilization chamber reach a temperature of 134 ° C, an essential value for the prion responsible for Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease be made completely inert and destroyed.
The Prion Test therefore makes it possible to assess the exposure of the instruments, equipment and housing of the autoclave to the specific sterilization cycle, in order to avoid any possible contagion and to comply with the guidelines on sterilization operations.
A Prion Test usually lasts 20 to 30 minutes . At the end of the test, it is possible to carry out a subsequent control using specific control tapes which, placed inside the chamber subjected to the cycle, control the complete sterilization.
These essential standards prove to be fundamental in all cabinets with an autoclave, because good maintenance of autoclaves and their periodic sterilization will not only guarantee their proper functioning but also and above all their efficiency, a characteristic intrinsically linked to the quality of service offers.
In addition, the execution of the Prion Test is a legal obligation intended to ensure the safety and protect the health of each health professional called upon to handle medical instruments and likely to be in contact with pathogenic microorganisms and to contract serious diseases, a real vehicle for the transmission of severe infectious and contagious diseases, by acting as an intermediary between the source of infection and the public.