Sterilizing surgical instruments in austere environments is a challenging problem for military medical operations. Soldiers with traumatic injuries require immediate treatment and intervention, however, there are limited numbers of surgical tool sets readily available. Tools must be first sterilized and this process can take up to two hours for a full cleaning cycle. Traditional sterilizers are also large, heavy, and require substantial power, which can be in short supply in forward-operating medical facilities.
Field surgeons need a device to effectively sterilize standard general surgery surgical tools and equipment that will protect patients from SSIs during intense procedures in a forward-operating, austere environment. This project attempts to produce a portable sterilizer that implements three novel, key components: a self-contained heat exchanger, a steam jacket tank, and pressurized helium purging.
Our prototype's success was demonstrated through benchtop testing. P.A.S.S. has a complete cycle time of 40 minutes with near 0% heat and pressure losses. The device also passes the two-foot drop test, weighs less than 80 pounds, can be carried by two military personnel, follows environmental safety ISO standards, and utilizes less than 3000 running watts.
This innovative device has the capability to perform heating, sterilization, and cooling cycles at speeds much faster than sterilizers on the market. P.A.S.S. meets well-documented sterilization standards, providing the opportunity to save countless military and civilian lives.