Single Use Instruments - FAQ
How do I know if a device is for single-use?
It will have this symbol on the packaging or the device
What does single-use mean?
Do not reuse. A single-use device is used on an individual patient during a single procedure and then discarded. It is not intended to be reprocessed and used again, even on the same patient.
Is single-patient use the same as single-use?
No. Single-patient use means the medical device may be used for more than one episode of use on one patient only; the device may undergo some form of reprocessing between each use.
Why shouldn’t they be reused?
Serious incidents relating to reuse of single-use devices have occurred. Reuse can be unsafe because of risk of:
• cross-infection — inability to clean and decontaminate due to design.
• endotoxin reaction — excessive bacterial breakdown products, which cannot be adequately removed by cleaning.
• patient injury — device failure from reprocessing or reuse because of fatigue, material alteration and embrittlement.
• chemical burns or sensitisation — residues from chemical decontamination agents on materials that can absorb chemicals.
Also, if you reuse a single-use device you may be legally liable for the safe performance of the device.
Can I sterilise a single-use device?
A few single-use devices are marketed as non-sterile. These may require processing, in line with the manufacturer’s instructions, to make them sterile and ready for use.
You must not resterilise them.