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Cleaning and Disinfection Guidelines for DeVilbiss Oxygen Concentrators

Thursday, 19 March 2020  |  Alex

During the recent outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19), oxygen concentrators have become increasingly important to ensure that affected patients can breathe. With this, the question has arisen about the best practice for ensuring that disease is not spread further when equipment is being used by multiple patients.

Can Coronavirus Survive on Medical Equipment?

Due to how quickly COVID-19 has spread, there has not been enough time to perform rigorous scientific analysis of this particular strain of coronavirus. We can however have a look at data gathered on similar strains of coronavirus such as SARS and MERS.

In a study on the persistence of coronaviruses on inanimate surfaces, it was concluded that "human coronaviruses can remain infectious on inanimate surfaces for up to 9 days". It goes on to state, however, that "surface disinfection... significantly reduces coronavirus infectivity within 1 min exposure time", meaning that proper disinfection can reduce the risk of sharing medical devices.

What Type of Disinfectant Should Be Used?

Studies have validated the use of diluted bleach solutions as being highly effective and efficient disinfectants for human coronavirus. As well as this, a study from the American Journal of Infection Control suggests that ethanol-based sanitisers are also very effective in reducing infectivity.

Which Oxygen Concentrators Is This Advice For?

This advice has been recommended by DeVilbiss about these specific models:

Current Cleaning and Disinfection Method

For the oxygen concentrators mentioned above, a cleaning and disinfection protocol can be found in the user manual under the section titled "Provider Notes-Cleaning and Disinfecting When There is a Patient Change". In addition to this protocol, it is recommended that you follow any infection precautions outlined by your medical establishment.

The DeVilbiss cleaning and disinfection protocol uses a diluted chlorine bleach (sodium hypochlorite) solution. This method has been validated by a third-party laboratory and is effective against myriad pathogens including (but not limited to) the following:

  • Staphylococcus
  • Pseudomonas
  • Escherichia coli
  • Klebsiella

How Is the Diluted Bleach Solution Made?

The diluted bleach solution required for cleaning the exterior is based on the use of a standard 5.25% chlorine bleach mix of one part bleach and four equal parts water with a 10 minute contact time. This formula products a 1% (or 10,000ppm) bleach solution, which is approximately 5 to 10x stronger than solution proven in studies to deactivate coronavirus on hard surfaces and inanimate objects.

Disinfection Instructions

  1. Use disinfectants safely and always read the label and product information before use.
  2. Always wear personal protective equipment (PPE) when performing this procedure, including suitable gloves and safety glasses. Cover exposed skin on arms to prevent accidental contact with bleach solution that has been applied to the concentrator.
  3. Dispose of accessories that are not suitable for reuse. This may include (but not be limited to) the oxygen tubing, tube connectors, nasal cannula and/or mask, oxygen outlet connector, and humidifier bottle.
  4. Clean the exterior of the concentrator with a clean lint-free cloth. Heavy soil should be removed with a clean lint-free cloth dampened with water. A soft bristle brush dampened with water can be used to remove stubborn soil. Dry the concentrator using a clean lint-free cloth if water was used to remove soil.
  5. Use 5.25% chlorine bleach (Clorox Regular Liquid Bleach or equivalent). Mix one part bleach with four parts of water in an appropriate clean container. This ratio produces a one part bleach to 5 total parts solution (1:5). This produces a 1% or 10,000ppm bleach solution. The total volume of solution is determined by the number of concentrations in need of disinfection.
  6. Apply the bleach solution to all exterior surfaces of the concentrator using a clean lint-free cloth in an even manner. The cloth should be dampened only and not dripping with solution. Do not use a spray bottle to apply the solution. Do not saturate the device with the solution. Take care that no solution enters the vent areas on the concentrator base or the auxiliary O2 fitting area on the back of the unit. Avoid over saturating the cabinet seams so that no solution residue builds up in these areas. Avoid the caster wells located on the bottom of the unit.
  7. Exposure time of the disinfectant solution should be 10 minutes minimum to 15 minutes maximum.
  8. After the recommended exposure time, all exterior surfaces of the concentrator should be wiped with a clean lint free cloth dampened with drinking-quality water, no warmer than room temperature. Dry the unit with a dry, clean lint-free cloth. This is to remove residue that may stain or leave a film on the unit, especially after repeated disinfections.

How Often Should I Change Filters?

The relevant DeVilbiss Oxygen Concentrators feature three filters:

  • Gross Particle Filter: Intended to prevent large dirt/dust particles from entering the concentrator cabinet
  • Inlet HEPA Filter: Filters air before it flows to the compressor with an efficiency of >99.97% for particles at 0.3 microns
  • Outlet HEPA Filter: Located prior to the patient outlet and designed to capture any potential fine particles that may be present in the oxygen before it is delivered to the user (efficiency of >99.9% at 0.3 microns)

Although not required as part of preventative maintenance, for people looking to use the highest level of caution in the current environment, in addition to the cleaning and disinfection instructions outlined above you should consider changing all filters between patient use.

Do you have any additional questions about the cleaning or maintenance of your device? Contact our Customer Care team at helpdesk@healthandcare.co.uk.