April 19, 2018

Study: Residual moisture, waterborne pathogens found inside flexible endoscopes

By: Judy Mathias

Editor's Note

Inadequate reprocessing and insufficient drying contributed to retained fluid and contamination found inside flexible endoscopes in this study led by noted epidemiologist Cori L. Ofstead.

Of 45 endoscopes analyzed at 3 hospitals, fluid was detected in 49%, and the prevalence of moisture varied significantly by site (5%, 83%, and 85%).

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High adenosine triphosphate (ATP) levels were found in 22% of endoscopes, and retained fluid was associated with significantly higher ATP levels.

Microbial growth was detected in 71%, including Stenotrophomonas maltophilia, Citrobacter freundii, and Lecanicillum lecanii/Verticillium dahliae.

Reprocessing and drying practices conformed with guidelines at one site and were substandard at two sites. All sites had damaged endoscopes in use.

More effective methods of reprocessing, drying, and maintenance are needed to prevent retention of fluid, organic material, and bioburden in flexible endoscopes that could cause patient illness or injury, the authors say.


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