BS EN ISO 11737-2:2000 - Sterilization of medical devices. Microbiological methods. Tests of sterility performed in the validation of a sterilization process – BSI British Standards

BS EN ISO 11737-2:2000

Sterilization of medical devices. Microbiological methods. Tests of sterility performed in the validation of a sterilization process

Status : Revised, Withdrawn   Published : May 2000 Replaced By : BS EN ISO 11737-2:2009

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A sterile product is one which is free of viable microorganisms. The International Standards for sterilization of medical devices require, when it is necessary to supply a sterile product item, that adventitious microbiological contamination of a medical device from all sources be minimized by all practical means. Even so, product items produced under standard manufacturing conditions in accordance with the requirements for quality systems for medical devices may, prior to sterilization, have microorganisms on them, albeit in low numbers. Such product items are non-sterile. The purpose of sterilization processing is to inactivate the microbiological contaminants and thereby transform the non-sterile items into sterile ones.

The inactivation of a pure culture of microorganisms by physical and/or chemical agents used to sterilize medical devices often approximates an exponential relationship; inevitably this means that there is always a finite probability that a microorganism may survive regardless of the extent of treatment applied. For a given treatment, the probability of survival is determined by the number and resistance of microorganisms and by the environment in which the organisms exist during treatment. It follows that the sterility of any one item in a population of items subjected to sterilization processing cannot be guaranteed, and the sterility of the processed population of items has to be defined in terms of the probability of the existence of a non-sterile item in that population.

Requirements for the quality system for the design/development, production, installation and servicing of medical devices are given in ISO 9001 and ISO 9002 in conjunction with BS EN ISO 13485.

The ISO 9000 series of standards designates certain processes used in manufacture as 'special' if the results cannot be fully verified by subsequent inspection and testing of the product. Sterilization is an example of a special process because process efficacy cannot be verified by inspection and testing of the product. For this reason, sterilization processes have to be validated before use, the performance of the process monitored routinely and the equipment maintained.

International Standards specifying procedures for the validation and routine control of the processes used for sterilization of medical devices have been prepared. An element of this validation may consist of exposing medical devices to the sterilizing agent when the extent of treatment has been reduced relative to that which will be used in routine processing in order to provide a knowledge of the resistance to the agent of the microbial contamination as it occurs naturally on medical devices. Subsequent to this exposure, medical devices are subjected individually to tests of sterility as described in this part of BS EN ISO 11737. An example of the use of such a test is in establishing a sterilizing dose for sterilization by radiation and for demonstrating the continued validity of this sterilization dose.

It includes guidance on the techniques used and on practical aspects of the requirements. It specifies the general criteria for tests of sterility on medical devices which have been exposed to a treatment with the sterilizing agent that is a fraction of the specified sterilization process. These tests are intended to be performed when validating a sterilization process.

BS EN ISO 11737-2 is not applicable to:

  • sterility testing for routine release of product that has been subjected to a sterilization process
  • performance of a pharmacopoeial test for sterility
  • culturing of biological indicators, including inoculated products.

Standard NumberBS EN ISO 11737-2:2000
TitleSterilization of medical devices. Microbiological methods. Tests of sterility performed in the validation of a sterilization process
StatusRevised, Withdrawn
Publication Date15 May 2000
Withdrawn Date31 March 2010
Normative References(Required to achieve compliance to this standard)No other standards are normatively referenced
Informative References(Provided for Information)No other standards are informatively referenced
Replaced ByBS EN ISO 11737-2:2009
International RelationshipsEN ISO 11737-2:2000,ISO 11737-2:1998
Draft Superseded By95/563133 DC
DescriptorsSterile equipment, Sterilization (hygiene), Medical equipment, Microbiological analysis, Process control, Approval testing, Biological analysis and testing, Microbiology, Assessed reliability, Test equipment, Samples, Specimen preparation
Title in FrenchSterilisation des dispositifs medicaux. Methodes microbiologiques. Essais de sterilite pratiques en cours de validation d'un procede de sterilisation
Title in GermanSterilisation von Medizinprodukten. Mikrobiologische Verfahren. Sterilitaetspruefungen bei der Validierung eines Sterilisationsverfahrens
ISBN0 580 34033 3
File Size367.5 KB

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