Using biological indicators in the autoclave steam sterilization process helps validate that the conditions to kill microorganisms were met. The BI is exposed to the sterilization process and then incubated to determine whether any endospores survive. If no spores survive or grow, the test is a pass. A passing result demonstrates that the sterilizer is effective in killing a large number of highly resistant bacterial spores.

But what if the test is a fail? It could be caused by several factors, including operator experience, load preparation and sterilizer condition. When a positive culture results after processing the BI in a validated steam sterilization cycle, finding the cause is critical.

Download this BI Checklist to help discover the source of a failed biological indicator test result.

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