Protein detection test helps assure instruments are safe for use

Synoptics Health, a manufacturer of digital imaging systems for healthcare applications, has announced that its ProReveal test to detect proteins on surgical instruments is being used at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, one of the UK’s largest NHS run Sterile Services Departments (SSDs).

The SSD at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust is one of the first in the
UK to adopt the highly sensitive ProReveal in-situ fluorescence test to quantify
how much protein remains on surgical instruments after they have been
decontaminated. SSD personnel at the hospital test how well their washer-
disinfection equipment has performed using the ProReveal to directly measure proteins on instrument surfaces which cannot be detected by eye or with a swab test. According to Synoptiocs Health, it is the only commercial in-situ protein detection test currently available that complies with new UK Department of Health (DoH) guidelines and is making
checking the efficacy of the decontamination process more accurate.

Alison Gee, sterile services and stores manager at Nottingham University
Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “The Department of Health guidance has changed
and SSDs are expected to move to in situ testing for residual protein on surgical instruments. 

"This is particularly important for instruments which are likely to have been in contact with tissue potentially harbouring prions that could cause infections such as vCJD. This change in regulations has actually allowed us to more easily access the funding to purchase and install a ProReveal in our department.”

Alison continued: “Since using ProReveal in the past year, we have had very good results, but we have found that a few instruments sometimes have slightly more than the target of five micrograms of protein on them, due to factors such as positioning in the washer-disinfector. We have also identified one type of instrument that we cannot clean adequately for re-use which is therefore being replaced. Neither of these problems were identified using swab testing. This has prompted us to re-train our staff on how to load our machines correctly and to contact the instrument manufacturer to discuss decontamination processes for their products.

"Additionally, when we had an issue with our water softener, we used the ProReveal and it assured us that the water quality had not affected the decontamination process and the surgical instruments were safe to use. This meant we didn’t have to do routine manual pre-cleaning on everything, so we avoided having an operational backlog and cancelling patients’ surgery. We are very pleased to have the ProReveal as it is assuring us that the surgical instruments we are returning to be used on patients are safe and fit for purpose.”

Guy Fiddian, of Synoptics Health, added: “We’re delighted that one of the UK’s largest NHS Sterile Services Departments is implementing the ProReveal as part of its modern approach to quality control of its decontamination process. Nottingham is one of the first NHS trusts in England to install a ProReveal and its SSD staff’s willingness to embrace using in-situ testing of reprocessed surgical instruments is a great testament to the fact that this excellent trust’s ethos of 'working together to be the best for patients' is at the heart of its care.”


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