Some of the factors affecting the efficient steam sterilization of dressings have been examined. A jacketed sterilizer will process a load more quickly than a sterilizer without a jacket. The level of fore-vacuum is critical and must reach an absolute pressure of 20 mm. Hg (29·2 in.Hg vacuum) or less. This will overcome all conditions of overpacking studied. The level of after-vacuum should be 100 mm. Hg absolute or less, preferably near 50 mm. Hg absolute.
Overpacking cannot be defined in terms of weight of a fabric per unit volume of container but occurs when a load is compressed in its container.
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1 Now at Pathology Department, Ruchill Hospital, Glasgow.
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