Longitudinal assessment of reprocessing effectiveness for colonoscopes and gastroscopes: Results of visual inspections, biochemical markers, and microbial cultures

Cori L. Ofstead, Harry P. Wetzler, Otis L. Heymann, Ellen A. Johnson, John E. Eiland, Michael J. Shaw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background Flexible endoscopes are currently reused following cleaning and high-level disinfection. Contamination has been found on endoscopes, and infections have been linked to gastrointestinal, respiratory, and urologic endoscopes. Methods This longitudinal study involved visual inspections with a borescope, microbial cultures, and biochemical tests for protein and adenosine triphosphate to identify endoscopes in need of further cleaning or maintenance. Three assessments were conducted over a 7-month period. Control group endoscopes reprocessed using customary practices were compared with intervention group endoscopes subjected to more rigorous reprocessing. Results At final assessment, all endoscopes (N = 20) had visible irregularities. Researchers observed fluid (95%), discoloration, and debris in channels. Of 12 (60%) endoscopes with microbial growth, 4 had no growth until after 48 hours. There were no significant differences in culture results by study group, assessment period, or endoscope type. Similar proportions of control and intervention endoscopes (~20%) exceeded postcleaning biochemical test benchmarks. Adenosine triphosphate levels were higher for gastroscopes than colonoscopes (P = .014). Eighty-five percent of endoscopes required repair due to findings. Conclusions More rigorous reprocessing was not consistently effective. Seven-day incubation allowed identification of slow-growing microbes. These findings bolster the need for routine visual inspection and cleaning verification tests recommended in new reprocessing guidelines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e26-e33
JournalAmerican journal of infection control
Volume45
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, Inc.

Keywords

  • Adenosine triphosphate
  • Endoscope
  • Epidemiology

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