Disinfected endoscopes might not be so clean: 6 important points

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Bacteria was found on endoscopes after the equipment underwent a multi-step cleaning and disinfecting process, according to a study by Ofstead & Associates in Saint Paul, Minn., and Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. The study was published in the American Journal of Infection Control.

Here are six important points:

1. Researchers collected samples from 60 encounters with 15 colonoscopes and gastroscopes used for gastrointestinal procedures. They noted that all reprocessing activities were checked off in accordance with the processes published by multi-society guidelines.

2. The study found that viable microbes and residual contamination still existed on the surfaces of endoscopes, even after the equipment underwent the cleaning process.

3. Bedside cleaning, manual cleaning in reprocessing rooms and automated endoscope reprocessing with a disinfectant are all part of the reprocessing procedure.

4. The endoscopes were placed vertically after drying with isopropyl alcohol and forced air. When contamination levels were still too high after the cleaning process, the endoscopes were cleaned again.

5. Viable organisms were found on 92 percent of devices after bedside cleaning; 46 percent after manual cleaning; 64 percent after disinfection; 9 percent after overnight storage.

6. Contamination above the predetermined benchmarks was found on 100 percent of devices after bedside cleaning; 92 percent after manual cleaning; 73 percent after disinfection; 82 percent after overnight storage.

Researchers concluded that "current standards and practices may not be sufficient for detecting and removing residual contamination."

More on quality & infection control:
5 things to know about the FDA devising a precision medicine platform
Healthcare providers now subject to review on Yelp: 6 points
CDC's model demonstrates rise in C. difficile growth & drug-resistant infections — 4 notes

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