Researchers at Johns Hopkins have developed and are testing a closet sized device for decontamination of common hospital equipment. The SUDS, which stands for “self-cleaning unit for the decontamination of small instruments”, can work on anything from EKG cables to IV stands, providing an automatic one stop shop to sanitize hospital equipment. The investigators just released a study that assessed the effectiveness of the SUDS machine over manual wiping.
About the SUDS device from the article in Annals of Surgical Innovation and Research:
The self-cleaning unit for the decontamination of small instruments (SUDS) is a multimodal portable decontamination unit. This unit allows for primary, secondary, and tertiary decontamination mechanisms with aerosolized biocide, ultraviolet light, and dry heat, respectively. Surface and base rotation via a clockwise and counterclockwise mechanism serves to increase the exposure of equipment to the biocide by optimizing air flow directionality.
Turbulence generated at the base allows for air flow patterns that increase exposure to the undersurface of the equipment. Image distance-based techniques allow for maximum intervention in specific areas. S-shaped curvatures at the edges of the surface rotatory mechanism allow for the attachment of multiple devices to the surface rotatory mechanism. Air cleaning and filtration modes allow for the expulsion of clean air into the environment; this may be connected to the facility filtration system. Only the primary mode of decontamination (aerosolized biocide) was used in this study.
More about the study results from the Johns Hopkins press reelase:
In the study, the Johns Hopkins team showed that SUDS was able to disinfect some 90 pieces of used emergency-room equipment, placing as many as 15 items in the device and “fogging” the equipment with an aerosolized, commercially available disinfectant chemical, or biocide, called Sporicidin. None of the electronic circuitry appeared to be damaged by the decontamination process. Instruments tested were of the type that comes in direct contact with a patient’s skin, the body’s key barrier to infection.
Repeated swabbing and lab culture testing of each decontaminated instrument showed that all items remained free of so-called gram-positive bacteria for two full days after cleaning, even after the equipment was returned to the emergency department and re-used. On the bacteria-free list were such potentially dangerous superbugs as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE).
By contrast, testing of an equal number of similar items that were manually scrubbed down with a disinfectant solution, called Airex, showed that 25 percent of the devices had bacterial growth after two days, including growth of potentially dangerous gram-positive bacteria, such as MRSA and VRE, as well as gram-negative type bacteria, most notably, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Acinetobacter baumannii, plus some types of fungi.
Study: Contamination of equipment in emergency settings: An exploratory study with a targeted automated intervention Annals of Surgical Innovation and Research 2009, 3:8
Press release: BRING ON THE “SUDS”: PROTOTYPE, 7-FOOT-TALL SANITIZER AUTOMATES DISINFECTION OF HARD-TO-CLEAN HOSPITAL EQUIPMENT…