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Aseptic technique is a procedure used by medical staff to prevent the

spread of infection. The goal is to reach asepsis, which means an


environment that is free of harmful microorganisms. Each healthcare setting
has its own set of practices for achieving asepsis. Common examples
include surgery rooms, clinics, and outpatient care centers.

Part 2 of 6: Uses

What Is Aseptic Technique Used For?


Aseptic technique is used in various clinical settings to prevent the
spread of pathogens. Like another antimicrobial process
called clean technique, the primary goal of this process is to
prevent harmful organisms from spreading and causing infection.
The difference is aseptic technique reduces the risks of infection in
the patient directly at the source. Clean technique is more focused
on preventing the further spread of pathogens between other
people and places.
Aseptic technique is commonly used in:

surgery equipment
vaginal labor
dialysis
urinary catheters
intravenous (IV) lines
other draining devices

Part 3 of 6: Types

Types of Aseptic Techniques


Clean equipment is a primary form of aseptic technique. Certain
equipment, such as needles, should always be disposed of
between patients. Reusing needles and other disposable
equipment can lead to a host of issues. Other types of equipment
must be cleaned properly through aseptic techniques for safety.
Sterilization methods include:

electric or gas heat


chemical treatments
radiation

Simple hand washing is another important form of aseptic


technique. Ensuring that all medical staff washes their hands
before and after any procedure helps to prevent the spread of
pathogens that can cause infections in patients.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers other
basic rules for infection prevention:

better staff training on aseptic techniques


use of chlorhexidine (an antiseptic) for post-catheter care
antimicrobial ointment to be used on IV line exits
proper bandaging post-operation
wearing masks to prevent germs from spreading from the

mouth through the air


Part 4 of 6: Benefits

Aseptic Technique Benefits


Anytime your skin is opened, youre vulnerable to infection. This is
why prompt treatment for burns and wounds is so critical. If the
exposure is intentional, such as in surgery, then the risk for
infection still exists. The way aseptic techniques are employed can
determine whether or not you will develop an infection from your
procedure.
One of the most common infections stems from C. difficile. This
is a bacteria that costs an estimated 14,000 American lives every
year (Medline Plus). Part of this is attributed to failures in following
aseptic techniques. Another problem is a lack of trained infection
prevention staff.
Part 5 of 6: Complications

Aseptic Technique Complications

A lack of enforced aseptic techniques can lead to a host of


problems for patients. Infections of the blood and urinary tract are
the most common. Other patients may experience infections at
the site of performed surgeries. Not only are these types of
infections emotional and financial burdens, certain infections may
also turn fatal. Medline Plus reported in 2013 that bloodstream
infections have increased 51 percent over the last 20 years
(Medline Plus).
According to the CDC, at least 30 reports of hepatitis outbreaks
were reported in healthcare settings between 2001 and 2011
(CDC). While more research is needed to determine the precise
causes of such outbreaks, principles of aseptic technique can help
minimize these incidents.
Part 6 of 6: Outcome

Aseptic Technique Outcome


The outcome of aseptic technique depends on whether all
procedures are thoroughly followed. Medical professionals are
responsible for following all processes leading to asepsis. If you
notice that a healthcare provider fails to wash hands or sterilize
equipment, dont be afraid to speak up. Doing so can help save
you or a loved one from potentially fatal side effects.
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