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Archive September 2020 XXI, No. 9

The Essentials of Endoscope Care

Proper cleaning, disinfecting and storage protocols prevent cross-contamination.

Danielle Bouchat-Friedman, Associate Editor


Seaford Endoscopy Center
THE RIGHT BALANCE While the automatic endoscope reprocessors help to speed up the cleaning process and minimize the need for manual brushing and scrubbing, it's important to follow the manufacturer's IFUs forĀ the proper amountĀ and dilution of the detergent.

The devil's in the details when reprocessing difficult-to-disinfect flexible endoscopes. "They're devilishly hard to clean because they're so fragile and complex," says Casey Czarnowski, BA, CRCST, CSPDT, CIS, CER, sterile processing educator at Stanford Health Care in the San Francisco area.

Endoscopes that are improperly cleaned can't be properly high-level disinfected and present serious health risks to patients, so it's always a good idea to remind staff of the importance of these essential tasks. The biggest mistake any reprocessing tech could make is oversimplifying the scope cleaning process, according to Jorge Tavera, CGTS, a reprocessing tech at PIH Health Downey (Calif.) Hospital. "Don't skip any of the steps, and don't go through the motions," he says.

Beginning at the bedside

The moment Mr. Tavera and his colleague Raymundo Gonzales, CGTS, receive a scope at the end of procedures at PIH Health Downey (Calif.) Hospital, they remove the air-water valve and replace it with a valve that has been checked to ensure it's not clogged or blocked. "We then suction 300 ml of clean water through the scope's channels and wipe down the exterior with enzymatic soap," says Mr. Tavera.

Pre-cleaning scopes at the patient's bedside by following the instructions for use (IFU) will help to remove bioburden and prevent the buildup of biofilm. Some facilities don't pre-clean endoscopes, leading to a domino effect of problems — scopes that aren't properly cleaned can't be properly high-level disinfected.

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