It's not often that you come across a product that will fit all your needs. Whether it's clothes for your closet or a wrench for your tool shed, the one size fits all makes shopping more efficient and a more pleasant experience. There is nothing worse than buying something at the store, only to realize it wasn't what you needed when you got home.
CSSD professionals constantly look for ways to be more efficient and simplify the process of instrument cleansing and sterilization. One tool created for the efficiency of using multiple sizes is the adjustable surgical instrument stringer.
Traditional stringers have been used primarily in the preparation of instruments inside of a tray for sterilization. These stringers are usually 2" - 3" in width. More recently, however, stringers are finding their way to the "dirty-side" of CSSD. AAMI stresses, in ST79 section 7.5.6, the importance of disassembly of multi-part instruments and the need to place all hinged instruments in an open state to ensure all surfaces are exposed for effective cleaning. Stringers used in decontam are typically 5" - 6" in width to maximize the openness of the instruments for the spray action of the washer.
These have been effective tools, but did create the need for double inventory of stringers - until recently when the adjustable stringer was introduced to the market. This new tool adjusts to the size of instruments for more effective cleaning of hard to reach areas containing bioburden, and can also be adjusted to the optimal width for placement of instruments inside a tray for terminal sterilization.
The new adjustable instrument stringers are just one of many tools for effective instrument reprocessing. Remember to always follow manufacturer instructions and test your mechanical washers at least once a week in compliance with AAMI and AORN guidelines.