Helix Testing Explained

Helix Testing is revolutionising the way we ensure safety and quality in various industries. Helix tests analyse and check the strength of the steam penetration in an autoclave, which in turn is a machine that is crucial for sterilising equipment and ensuring biosecurity in medical settings and establishments (as well as other environments).

How does Helix Testing work?

Through meticulous testing procedures, the Helix Test evaluates the air removal and steam penetration within autoclaves, verifying that all areas receive adequate sterilisation. This process involves placing a specially designed Helix test kit into the geometric centre of the chamber of the autoclave to assess air removal and steam penetration under real-world conditions.

By simulating realistic sterilisation scenarios, the Helix Test provides valuable insights into how well autoclaves perform in eliminating harmful microorganisms. It offers a comprehensive assessment of an autoclave's effectiveness in safeguarding against contamination and infection risks, serving as a critical tool for maintaining stringent hygiene standards across industries where sterilisation is paramount.

Key factors

  • By conducting regular Helix tests (at least once per day), autoclave users can verify that sterilisation processes are functioning correctly and efficiently.
  • Helix Testing also helps to identify any potential issues or malfunctions in autoclaves before they escalate into more significant problems.
  • Maintaining accurate records of Helix Testing results is essential for regulatory compliance and quality assurance purposes. These records will also help with troubleshooting should the autoclave start having problems.

What does it test for?

The Helix test assesses various parameters such as air removal, temperature, pressure, and time during the sterilisation process. It checks for proper air removal, steam penetration and distribution within the autoclave chamber to ensure thorough sterilisation of instruments or equipment, as well as whether the autoclave is reaching and maintaining the required temperature throughout the cycle.

Risks of inadequate sterilisation

Depending on the setting and items the autoclave is being used in and for, risks of inadequate sterilisation can include cross contamination of equipment, spread of infectious pathogens and serious health problems for those who may be exposed. In addition, users who fail to sterilise equipment properly, especially in the healthcare sector, may be open to litigation, fines, resulting poor reputation and (in some cases) even removal from professional registers such as the GDC Register (dentistry) or the Health and Care Professions Council.