“Sterilization as a pillar of prestigious high-quality health care”

Before Gabriel Gutkind inaugurated the 10th Panamerican congress, we met during a pre-congress with the topics: “Medical Devices” and “Vascular implants” (Tuesday 28/05 10 am to 2 pm, FFyB University of Buenos Aires – Alejandro Vázquez, Rubén Szyszkowsky, Th. W. Fengler).
A straight program was waiting for the 966 attendees for the next 3 days. Listening, learning, understanding and scientific discussion – this is what a congress stands for. In the opening session, Michelle Alfa was leading us through a series of results from publications and gave us an overview on “Accumulation of residuals on inadequately cleaned medical devices prevents effective high-level disinfection and sterilization”, resuming that cleaning is more than crucial for medical devices, specifically for flexible scopes.

Wednesday May 29th
In the morning the lectures were divided into two round tables, the first coordinated by Dr. Laura Friedman. Speakers were Dr. Gabriel Gutkind, Dr. Marta Mollerach (both professors of Microbiology from UBA) and the physician Dr. Viviana Rodríguez (who represented the Society for Infection Control).
The second was coordinated by Dr. Gabriel Gutkind. Dr. Beatriz Passerini reported on her dissertation about biofilms, and Dr. Christophe Lambert (president of the French association SF2S) spoke about “Problems with devices for osteosyntheses”.
The traumatologist Dr. Francisco Brozzi answered questions referring to infections in surgical interventions of his specialty. In the afternoon there were two panels, the first being moderated by Rosana Vaccaro. Architect Liliana Font spoke about the planning, design and structural conditions for central sterilization services. Andrés Deniz demonstrated the future reprocessing unit for the German Hospital in Buenos Aires as an example.
The topic of the following panel, introduced by Laura Grodecki, was “the externalization of sterilization” with Gustavo Enriquez and Dr. Thomas Fengler as speakers. Third-party processing is an option for healthcare facilities to become better and safer, and to lower costs. But the operators should have a clear list of requirements. Knockout criteria for service providers may be the distance to the facility, the guaranteed availability of critical and rare medical devices “just in time”, frequency of service as well as tracking and traceability.
During a lunch symposium, 3M discussed “ISO standards and their impact on patient safety – the Latin American experience and future developments in Argentina”. Many interesting investigations were presented during poster sessions only, and the reader sometimes felt some regret that there was no more time to discuss those results. They should be made available on the new internet site of the Panamerican organization.

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