Navigating the Shadows – Understanding 6 Uncertainties with UV-C Technologies

Machines offering ultraviolet-C (UV-C) light for the high-level disinfection of medical devices are rapidly emerging worldwide. This surge in the use of UV-C requires healthcare practitioners to take extra precautions before embedding unconventional technology into standard procedures.



What is UV-C?

Ultraviolet-C radiation is a wavelength of light that falls between the spectrum of X-rays and visible light. Light within this range has been shown to inactivate certain microorganisms through a specific reaction pathway. This is typically achieved using low-pressure mercury lamps. However, recently, LED lamps have been utilised as an alternative.

Ultraviolet (UV) light destroys microorganisms by targeting the DNA or RNA within microorganisms. This causes a photochemical reaction, creating abnormal links within the DNA or RNA. The chemical structure is distorted which interferes with the normal function of the microorganism, leading to mutations or inactivation.


How is it used?

UV light is used in various settings, including water treatment systems and piping networks, as well as healthcare and food industry settings, including the disinfection of ventilation systems, surfaces, and devices. Its use in healthcare is becoming increasingly common, particularly for the disinfection of non-lumened, semi-critical medical devices.

A typical UV-C machine comprises a hard plastic cabinet housing multiple UV lamps within a mirrored glass chamber. A portion of the medical device is hung inside the chamber, with the door closed to protect the end user, and UV-C light is emitted onto the device.

The Spectrum of Light



Below articles outline six critical considerations before adopting UV-C technology for your hospital medical device decontamination procedure.




In conclusion, the widespread adoption of Ultraviolet-C (UV-C) technologies for high-level disinfection in healthcare settings has brought about significant advancements but has also raised several critical uncertainties and challenges that should be considered before the technology is adopted.

From the lack of standardised testing methods to issues regarding material compatibility, manual cleaning requirements, shadowing effects, addressing other areas of the device, and the concern of UV-C repair mechanisms, healthcare practitioners must navigate through these complexities before integrating UV-C technology into standard procedures.


This document serves to provide valuable insights into available published literature and guides informed decision-making regarding the implementation of UV-C disinfection technologies in healthcare settings.


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