Existing Reprocessing Techniques Prove to be Insufficient for Flexible Endoscopes

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Current techniques used to clean endoscopes for reuse are not consistently effective, according to a study published in the February issue of the American Journal of Infection Control, the official journal of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC). The findings of this study support the need for careful visual inspection and cleaning verification tests to ensure that all endoscopes are free of damage and debris before they are high-level disinfected or sterilized and used on another patient.

Currently, flexible endoscopes, including gastrointestinal, urological, and respiratory endoscopes, are reused following cleaning and high-level disinfection. However, results from the new study conducted by Ofstead & Associates, Inc., suggest that even more rigorous reprocessing techniques of endoscopes are not consistently effective, and organic residues often remain.