April 24, 2023

Effectiveness of alcohol flush, drying cycles of AERs

Editor's Note

This study, led by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, finds that air flush cycles used in automated endoscope reprocessors (AERs) may not adequately dry endoscope channels, particularly narrow air/water channels.

Endoscopes were reprocessed per protocol with a 3-minute or 10-minute air flush following reprocessing. The endoscopes were hung and observed for any water within the channels after reprocessing and after a week of ambient storage. Ready-for-use endoscopes also were randomly spot-checked for moisture visually and with moisture detection paper.

All of the endoscopes were grossly wet after routine AER processing that included an alcohol flush and 3-minute air flush drying cycle. An extended 10-minute air flush cycle was effective at drying the biopsy/suction channels, but not the air/water channels.

Hanging had limited effect, but was most effective in the biopsy/suction channels. Of the 77 ready-for-use endoscopes assessed, nearly half (37, 48.1%) had retained moisture.

The researchers concluded that interventions geared towards endoscopic dryness routinely fail to achieve complete dryness. An extended 10-minute air flush cycle is promising and results in significant improvement in dryness; however, narrow channels may resist drying attempts, they say.

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