…and the potential for a substantial reduction of theatre-borne and other surgical site infections

Public Health England’s surveillance of SSI Infections for 2019-2020 advises that on average, around 20%¹ of surgical procedures will result in some kind of SSI whether in operating theatres or other settings where the unsuccessful decontamination of re-useable surgical instruments could be the cause.

In the UK there are about 10,000,000 surgical procedures annually.  Therefore, it can be assumed that there are about 2,000,000 SSI ‘s, with around 4% of these deemed to be of a ‘serious’ nature.  This equates to about 4800 patients per annum who die prematurely or become seriously ill, in part due to poorly cleaned instruments in the UK alone. This, in itself, is an extremely concerning statistic.

If we divide this figure by the UK population of 70,000,000, we obtain a figure of 0.00006857. Taking this assumption further, if we then multiply the world population of 8,000,000,000 by this figure, we get 550,000 as being the number of people worldwide who potentially lose their lives to SSI’s every year.

It is appreciated that not all SSI’s are caused by dirty instruments and also that this is an arbitrary figure, but it does give an indication as to the scale of the problem. The actual worldwide SSI figure of course is likely to be much higher than this, as while the UK and other more advanced nations have robust cleaning regimes in all surgical sites, many other countries do not.

In both trial and actual surgical settings, the ‘Advanced Ultrasonics’ technological suite from Alphasonics has shown to substantially reduce the amount of protein remaining on surgical equipment following re-processing.   With every result being under 1µg per side and many of these being 0ng, using a proprietary protein measuring device, there is real cause for optimism in the research carried out by the company. In addition, such comprehensive and consistent protein removal has led to an unexpected benefit, being that of enhanced bacteria removal to >log5 in cold water.

This technology has been described as ‘game changing’ by decontamination experts who have adopted this technology at an early stage and if widely employed will, without doubt substantially reduce the cases of theatre and surgical site acquired infections. Thus, saving lives and greatly improving patient outcomes across the globe.

Additionally, Advanced Ultrasonics is particularly beneficial in the removal of prion proteins from instruments used in cranial and other high-risk surgeries.


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