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Minimizing infections when reprocessing endoscopy equipment

April 17, 2017
Endoscopy Infection Control
From the April 2017 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

Therefore, materials should be established for the unique role each staff member plays. For example, training for a staff member who performs pre-cleaning and transports the endoscope to a central reprocessing area will be very different than a staff member who works in the reprocessing areas. Competency verification should include direct observation in addition to other assessments such as written tests. With innovative, cloud-based technology, there are some new programs available to health care facilities that will reduce the need for meetings and align their vendors and staff around relevant training topics. Health care facilities should require all personnel responsible for reprocessing endoscopes to receive proper certification, specifically in line with the manufacturer of each device.

Manual cleaning
It is vital to clean endoscopes manually in a room dedicated to the purpose of removing the organic debris and microorganisms that may be present. Personnel responsible for reprocessing should flush the air/water channel to expel any blood, mucus or other debris. To clean the outer surface of the endoscope thoroughly, all valves should be removed and cleaned separately with a soft brush. It is important to pay particular attention to the control section, angulation controls, distal end and the bridge mechanism of duodenoscopes. After removing the instrument from the electrical equipment, fully immerse and wash the suction channel in warm soapy water with a flexible brush. The used brushes should then be cleaned thoroughly by putting them through an ultrasonic cleaner before they are sterilized and repackaged. Always refer to the manufacturer’s recommendations specific to each component.

Flexible endoscopes should be disinfected in automatic washing or disinfection units. Most manufacturers recommend immersion in the disinfection solution for routine endoscopy. There should be adequate ventilation and exhaust systems to remove any fumes. When the disinfection cycle has been completed, the endoscope should be rinsed thoroughly both internally and externally using fresh, sterile and filtered water. Drain and flush with air and alcohol, which can be done manually or in an automated system, before it is reassembled for use. Repeat for extra precaution. Before storing away, ensure that all the channels of the endoscope and elevator mechanism are thoroughly dried to prevent bacterial growth or the formation of bio-film that is difficult to remove and could result in persistent contamination.

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