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The Infection Control with Tyvek® in Medical Packaging

The Infection Control with Tyvek® in Medical Packaging

Medical packaging, which is also known as sterile barrier, has a significant role in preventing hospital infections. Recent years have brought increasing pressure for reducing the rate of hospital infections, for such infections result in medical costs of billion dollars each year and lead to ten thousands of casualties per year only in the USA. According to the estimates of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the USA, approximately 70 percent of hospital infections is resistant to at least one medicine which is commonly used for their treatments.

In the USA, in 2008; CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) adopted a non-payment policy against hospitals for additional costs regarding treatment of some infection patients resulting from medical services. Essential legal provisions were included in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 for penalizing hospitals with higher rates of hospital infections. As of 2015, such hospitals will be penalized up to 1 percent of state medical insurance payments. Similarly, state medical insurance will cease refunding possibilities for preventable infections acquired during medical treatments. A number of private insurance companies initiated implementation of non-payment policies.

As a response to such penalties and non-payment policies, hospitals started to develop and implement versatile approaches for the purposes of inspecting and preventing hospital infections. Many hospital infections may be prevented through absolute commitment on best practices based on evidences. Best practices focus on areas such as involving sterile barrier system and preventing contagion from person to person and from the environment.

Sterile barrier system is required to prevent penetration of microorganisms of any kind during usage and allow sterile presence of product. Since sterile barrier system is one of the first defense lines against infections, it is of vital importance to prefer a packaging material with the highest possible protection level.

DuPont™ Tyvek® is defined as excellence standard for sterile barrier systems. Since it provides a higher level of protection for medical devices and materials compared to any other porous material used in sterile packaging practices.

Unique structure of Tyvek® provides a natural advantage over other materials for sterile barrier systems. Particularly, Tyvek®:

  • Provides excellent resistance to microbial penetration. Even in highly contaminated environments and under the toughest conditions, Tyvek® is highly resistant to penetration of bacteria spores and other pollutant microorganisms.
  • Reduces risk of faulty packaging significantly. When compared to papers appropriate for medical use, Tyvek® provides high level of puncture resistance and tear strength. This shows that it will not be punctured easily and tears will not spread easily even when the package is notched.
  • Reduces contamination risk for the device it covers. Particle formation tests comparing Tyvek® with other medical grade papers prove that Tyvek® produces less amount of air particles which may pollute medical devices or sterile areas.

As one of the first defense lines against infections during surgical operations, sterile barrier system is a key component for preventing hospital infections and surgical site infections successfully. Sterile barrier systems made of Tyvek® provides a higher degree of protection compared to other porous packaging materials. Since Tyvek® provides optimum balance of microbial penetration resistance, tear strength, puncture resistance and clean peel.

To sum up, Tyvek® helps reducing hospital infections and protecting patients’ health by means of providing care for medical devices and materials for most critical situations.

By: Hilal Şimşek, DuPont™ Protection Technologies, General  of Tyvek® Medical Application Segment