JSOM Header

This week's featured articles


Water Decontamination Products for Wound Irrigation in Austere Environments: Benchtop Evaluation and Recommendations


Holcomb I, Shiels S, Marsh N, Stinner D, McGwin G, Holcomb JB, Wenke JC. 24(1). 71 - 75. (Journal Article)


Background: Irrigation is used to minimize infection of open wounds. Sterile saline is preferred, but potable water is becoming more widely accepted. However, the large volumes of water that are recommended are usually not available in austere environments. This study determined the long-term antimicrobial effectiveness of military purification powder compared with currently available civilian methods. The study also compared the physical characteristics and outcomes under the logistical constraints. Methods: Six commercially available water decontamination procedures were used to decontaminate five different sources of water (pond water, river water, inoculated saline, tap water, and sterile saline). Each product was evaluated based on six different parameters: bacterial culture, pH, turbidity, cost, flow rate, and size. Results: All methods of treatment decreased the bacterial count below the limit of detection. However, they had variable effects on pH and turbidity of the five water sources. Prices ranged from $7.95 to $350, yielding 10-10,000L of water, and weighing between 18 and 500g. Conclusion: In austere settings, where all equipment is carried manually, no single decontamination device is available to optimize all the measured parameters. Since all products effectively reduced microbial levels, their size, cost, and production capability should be evaluated for the intended application.

Keywords: infection; wound care; prehospital care

PMID: 38488823


Buy Now

Sterile Instrument Storage in an Austere Environment: Are Sterile Peel Packaging and Cellulose Wrapping Equivalent?


Lanham N, Belyea CM, Marcello D, Wataka AB, Musila L. 24(1). 77 - 80. (Journal Article)


Background: Recommendations for optimal temperature and humidity for sterile instrument storage vary according to different sources. Furthermore, there are limited data comparing methods of packing smaller, lightweight, low-profile instruments. The purpose of this study was to compare sterile peel packaging and sterile cellulose wrapping for sterile instrument storage in an austere environment characterized by elevated temperature and humidity. Methods: Stainless steel screws were sterilized and stored in either sterile peel packaging, sterile cellulose wrapping, or no packaging. Four groups were evaluated. Group 1 consisted of four screws in a sterile peelpack envelope and served as a time-zero control. Group 2 consisted of two groups of five screws, each packaged with blue sterilization cellulose wrap. Group 3 consisted of two groups of five screws, each packaged in sterile peel-pack envelopes. Group 4 consisted of 10 non-sterile unpackaged screws, which served as controls. Screws from groups 2, 3, and 4 were then cultured for 6 and 12 weeks. Temperature and humidity values were recorded in the instrument storage area. Results: Average temperature was 21.3°C (SD 1.2°C; range 18.9°C-27.2°C) and average humidity was 51.7% (SD 3.9%; range 39%- 70%). Groups 1 (time-zero control) and 2 (sterile cellulose wrapping) demonstrated no growth. After 6 and 12 weeks, groups 3 (sterile peel packaging) and 4 (control) demonstrated bacterial growth. Conclusion: The most common culture isolates were gram-positive rods and two common nosocomial Staphylococcius species. Sterile peel packaging was not found to be equivalent to sterile cellulose wrapping in austere environmental conditions.

Keywords: instrument sterility; austere environment; peel packing; cellulose wrapping; sterile instrument storage

PMID: 38423001


Buy Now