Using a simplified ATP algorithm to improve data reliability and improve cleanliness standards for surface and medical device hygiene

Greg S. Whiteley*, Trevor O. Glasbey, Paul P. Fahey

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    4 Citations (Scopus)
    4 Downloads (Pure)


    Background: An algorithm has been improved to mitigate variability in cleanliness measurements of various surfaces using rapid Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) testing. A cleaning intervention step (CIS) verifies the cleanability of those surfaces. Methods: ATP testing was performed on surfaces which were pre-approved as “clean” and ready for re-use. Adjacent (duplicate) ATP sampling was undertaken on 421 environmental surfaces, medical devices and other implements. The CIS was conducted on 270 surfaces using an aseptic technique and disposable cleaning wipes. Results: The two initial ATP results were plotted against each other with a 100 RLU threshold grading the results as clean (2x < 100RLU), dirty (2x > 100RLU) or equivocal (1x < 100RLU and 1x > 100RLU). Of the surfaces sampled, 68.5 % were clean (288/421), 13.5 % were dirty (57/421) and 18 % were equivocal (76/421). The duplicate testing demonstrated a false negative rate of 10 % (44/421) where the first swab was <100 RLU and the second swab >100 RLU. For the equivocal group, the gap between the two swabs was >100 RLU for 7.5 % of surfaces (33/421). The CIS was conducted on 270 of the surfaces tested and showed that cleaning could be improved (P=<0.001) on 88.5 % of surfaces (239/270). Conclusion: The simplified ATP testing algorithm provides real-time discrimination between surface cleanliness levels and improved certainty over surface hygiene. The duplicate swab sampling approach mitigates uncontrolled variability in the results and the CIS provides a nuanced understanding of the measurable cleanliness of any surface.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)3-9
    Number of pages7
    JournalInfection, Disease and Health
    Issue number1
    Early online date11 Aug 2021
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2022

    Bibliographical note

    Copyright the Author(s) 2021. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


    • Algorithm
    • ATP testing
    • Cleanliness
    • Surface hygiene


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