Hydrogen peroxide gas sterilization, also called hydrogen peroxide sterilization, is a process of low-temperature sterilization commonly used to sterilize heat-sensitive devices. Typically, a hydrogen peroxide sterilization cycle requires less time than alternative forms of sterilization, such as the sterilization of ethylene oxide. A method of sterilization of hydrogen peroxide involves H2O2 vapor filling the sterilizer chamber, touching exposed system surfaces, and sterilizing them. The vapor is vacuumed out of the chamber and converted to water and oxygen once the sterilization cycle is completed.

Low-Temperature Sterilization

Low-temperature sterilization is a process of sterilization that is best used for heat-sensitive systems that may be affected by steam sterilization process conditions. The two most common types of low-temperature sterilization are ethylene oxide (EO) and vaporized hydrogen peroxide (VHP). Apart from heat-stable instruments, heat and heat-sensitive machines are not always compatible with all types of different low-temperature sterilizers.

Hydrogen Peroxide Vaporized Sterilization

Hydrogen peroxide sterilization is also defined as vaporize hydrogen peroxide sterilization or VHP. More generally, healthcare facilities prefer to vaporize hydrogen peroxide sterilization as their low-temperature sterilization method over ethylene oxide sterilization. The falling use of ethylene oxide sterilization systems in hospitals reflects this choice for VHP.

Familiarity in households with hydrogen peroxide gives consumers a sense of confidence in hydrogen peroxide as a non-toxic, environmentally friendly solution.

No ventilation is needed for the vaporized hydrogen peroxide sterilization process, and VHP devices only use one utility power. There is no need for extra water, steam, or compressed air tools.

Hydrogen Peroxide Sterilization Process

The vaporized hydrogen peroxide sterilization is as per the following:

  1. Fluid H2O2 gets changed over into fume
  2. The fume fills the chamber, reaching all surfaces and infiltrating lumens
  3. After the sterilization process, the fume is vacuumed from the chamber and changed over into water and oxygen

Guidelines for Hydrogen Peroxide Sterilization

Sterilizers are expected to be safe and efficient by both the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the International Organisation for Standardization ( ISO) and vaporized hydrogen peroxide sterilizers are no exception.

Protection for the patient – It sterilizers must meet ISO standards to confirm there are no harmful residues left on the instruments that may be of risk for patients.

Protection for applications – Hydrogen peroxide is considered an extremely important provision of essentials with a wide range of materials.

Environmental protection – This form of sterilization is not hazardous to the environment because water and oxygen are the only by-products of a VHP sterilization method.

Protection for staff – The guarantee that the sterilizer is safe for the workers of the Sterile Processing Department is one of the most critical safety aspects of gaseous sterilization. Strict recommendations for exposure to hydrogen peroxide have been established by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in the United States and other regulatory bodies in other countries.