Archive October 2017 XVIII, No. 10

Endoscope Reprocessing From Start to Finish

Is perfection possible every time when disinfecting scopes?

Robert Lacava

Robert Lacava, RN


endoscope PROPER BRUSHING The endoscope contains tiny channels and crevices that need to be cleaned thoroughly, using special brushes.

Reprocessing endoscopes takes diligence every step of the way. From pre-cleaning to leak testing to automatic disinfection, your nurses and techs must pay careful attention to every part of the process. From withdrawal of the scope to storing it in a cabinet, the entire reprocessing should take roughly 45 minutes. Though the turnaround is quick, it comprises many technical steps that must be completed thoroughly every single time. Neglecting any step, however small, puts your facility at risk of transferring microbes. To refresh, let's revisit the 11 stages of a thorough reprocessing, starting with pre-cleaning, once the scope has been withdrawn from the patient.

1 Wipe the scope with a clean, lint-free cloth saturated with manufacturer-approved detergent solution. This step needs to take place before any detritus have time to dry and settle. All staff members who handle scopes during the procedure need to know this crucial stage of the process before the scopes go off to the techs in the Sterile Processing Department (SPD).

2 Suction detergent via pump through the channels. Using a suction pump, flush the air, water, and other channels with detergent solution, and then flush with air. Repeat this phase as per manufacturer instructions until you've cleared the channels with an air flush.

3 Disconnect the scope from the suction pump, attach a protective video cap and transport it in a bin. Once the scope has been thoroughly wiped and flushed in the pre-clean, it's ready to be taken to the SPD, where it will be scrubbed, soaked and tested for damage. The transport bin should be large enough to store the scope properly and closed off as it moves through the facility. Additionally, thoroughly clean and disinfect the transport bin after each use.

4 Remove valves and buttons and any detachable components and submerge them in detergent solution. Now that the scope has been handed off to the SPD, detach all removable pieces and completely submerge it in fresh detergent solution. The solution should be mixed per manufacturer guidelines.

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