Section III. DEFINITIONS
1-14. TERMS ASSOCIATED WITH STERILIZATION
One of the most important parts of life is the ability to effectively communicate,
that is to understand the words people use in talking or writing. Medical words are more
exact than everyday words, but often, abbreviations, slang, and local phrases make
even medical words confusing. To simplify the use of this subcourse, the words used
frequently in CMS and related medical areas are defined for you. Words that are
specifically related to sterilization are defined in the following paragraphs.
a. Antisepsis. The prevention of sepsis by the exclusion, destruction, or
inhibition of growth or multiplication of microorganisms from body tissues and fluids.
b. Antiseptics. Chemical agents that fight sepsis by inhibiting growth of
microorganisms without necessarily killing them. Usually applied to living tissue.
c. Asepsis. The absence of microorganisms that cause disease.
microorganisms is prevented, which is also called, "sterile technique."
e. Autoclave. A sterilizing apparatus that uses saturated steam under
f. Bacteria. One category of microorganisms. Microorganisms are of great
concern to hospital personnel because they are difficult to destroy and produce many
g. Bagged. Method of enclosing supplies and equipment. This may be done by
plastic or paper to prevent the spread of infection or to maintain sterility.
h. Contaminated. Soiled with microorganisms.
i. Cross Contamination. Transmission of microorganisms from patient to
patient and from contaminated objects to patients and vice versa.
j. Detergent. A cleansing agent that facilitates removal of grease or soil. A
suitable detergent must be selected; it must clean but not injure the surface of the
k. Disease. A condition of the body in which there is abnormal or poor function.
l. Disinfectant. An agent that kills all growing forms of microorganisms, thus
completely eliminating them from objects.