March 25, 2024

Forced-air device outperforms standard endoscope drying practices, study shows

Editor's Note

Authors of a recent study evaluating the effectiveness of a forced-air drying system for endoscopes argue that the results reinforce the need to re-evaluate standard drying practices. Findings were published February 24 in the American Journal of Infection Control.

Wet environments resulting from inadequate drying practices can result in the growth of microbes that survive high-level disinfection and go on to infect patients, researchers write. Further, past studies of vertical hanging and automated endoscope reprocessors (AERs) have found these methods to be ineffective. For this study, researchers evaluated a new forced-air drying system (FADS) that connects to the suction and air/water cylinders on the control handle and auxiliary water inlet of gastrointestinal endoscopes to simultaneously dry all channels.  

The study involved testing the FADs system on 22 gastroscopes and 20 colonoscopes in an inpatient endoscopy unit of a large academic medical center. Dryness was evaluated using droplet detection cards, borescope examinations of endoscope interiors, and visual inspection of air/water connectors, suction connectors, and distal ends. All assessments were performed after AER alcohol flush and air purge cycles and after 10-minute FADS cycles.

After AER and air purge, all 42 endoscopes were still wet. “Substantial fluid” emerged from distal ends during the first 15 seconds of the FADs cycle, researchers report. Air/water and suction connectors were also sources of droplets. In contrast, all 42 scopes were dry after the FADS cycle.


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