June 22, 2023

Effect of alcohol flush on endoscope channel drying, microbial outgrowth

Editor's Note

This study by researchers at Steris, Mentor, Ohio, finds that flushing flexible endoscope channels with reduced concentrations of alcohol may prevent microbial outgrowth while reducing drying time.

Among the findings:

  • Flushing endoscope channels with isopropyl alcohol (70%-30% concentration) prevented Pseudomonas aeruginosa outgrowth during storage.
  • A 70% alcohol concentration increased channel drying time by 1.5- or 3-fold, compared to 50% alcohol or water, respectively.
  • Forced air drying of non-alcohol flushed channels greatly reduced the initial contamination level and prevented microbial outgrowth.
  • Incomplete drying of contaminated channels was the same as no application of forced air.
  • Applying forced air for longer than necessary to remove residual liquid did not completely eliminate the low level recovery of P aeruginosa.

More research is needed to understand the effect of this strategy using test articles in the presence of bioburden and then evaluating clinically used endoscopes, the researchers conclude.

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