Reusable Tourniquet Cuffs Cleaning Instructions
Reusable tourniquet cuffs are supplied as non-sterile
products, and are intended to be used for multiple surgical
procedures. Reusable tourniquet cuffs can be reused with
confidence and safety if they are cleaned and inspected properly
between each surgical procedure. Each tourniquet manufacturer and
2009 AORN Recommended Practices for the Use of the Pneumatic
Tourniquet in the Perioperative Practice Setting (http://www.tourniquets.org/aorn.php)
provide guidelines for cleaning and inspection of reusable
tourniquet cuffs prior and after use.
In general, a reusable tourniquet cuff may be cleaned in
lukewarm water and an US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
registered, intermediate-level, tuberculocidal disinfectant. .
The cuff should then be rinsed thoroughly because cleaning
solution residue may cause skin irritation, increase the chance
of allergic reaction, and decrease the life of the cuff and
bladder. A soft hand brush may be used to remove encrusted
material. The cuff may also be wiped with isopropyl alcohol.
All tubing should be cleaned, rinsed, and dried between
patients and before storage, using an EPA-registered,
detergent/intermediate-level disinfectant. Care must be taken to
prevent introduction of solution into the ports. Water in the
ports contributes to microbial growth. Subsequent deflation of
wet bladders may cause minute droplets of solution to be forced
into the tourniquet regulating mechanism, causing damage.
The cleaned cuff and tubing should be allowed to drip dry at
room temperature. Any increased temperature during cleaning may
cause unevenness or rippling in the cuff material, rendering it
unsuitable and unsafe for further use.
It is important to note that if a cuff is unable to be cleaned
adequately, it should be discarded in an appropriate receptacle.
Finally, before a cuff can be used, it must be thoroughly
inspected. For example, the following is a list of items that can
be used for cuff inspection prior to use:
- Has the cuff been cleaned thoroughly after the previous
- After cleaning, is there any obvious discoloration
remaining due to blood or residue remaining from previous
use that could be a potential source of contamination?
- Is there any physical damage to the cuff (for example,
rips, tears, holes, unevenness or rippling along the
length of the cuff when laid flat)?
- Is (are) the positive-locking hose connector(s) on the
valve stem(s) bent, broken or worn, or does the black
o-ring on each connector appear to be cracked, damaged or
- Is the colored ribbon torn or the ribbon stitching
- Is the hook and loop (Velcro) material torn or is any of
the stitching around the material broken or fraying?
- After cleaning, is more than 25% of the (Velcro) contact
closure material embedded with fibers that cannot be
- Connect the cuff to a tourniquet instrument, wrap the
cuff onto itself, and inflate the cuff. Are there any
leaks in the cuff or connectors? Some recent tourniquet
instruments have advanced leak detection for
automatically detecting leaks in cuffs during and after
- Is there any other physical change or damage to the cuff
that would compromise the cuff's ability to maintain
pressure and stop blood flow during a surgical procedure?
- If any of the above conditions are present the cuff is no
longer usable and should be discarded. Possible
consequences of using a damaged cuff include the
possibility of catastrophic injury, including death, to
the patient due to the release of blood into the surgical
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