June 19, 2017

Study: Ureteroscopes remain contaminated after cleaning, sterilization

By: Judy Mathias

Editor’s Note

Techniques used to clean and sterilize flexible ureteroscopes left behind contamination that included debris, residue, and bacteria, in this study presented June 14 at the 44th Annual Conference of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control.

Researchers with Ofstead & Associates (St Paul, Minnesota) sampled 16 ureteroscopes at two institutions after they were cleaned and sterilized with hydrogen peroxide gas.

Contamination was found on 100% of the ureteroscopes:

  • All ureteroscopes exceeded the benchmark for protein.
  • Hemoglobin was found on 63%.
  • 44% had higher adenosine triphosphate (ATP) levels than anticipated.

Visual inspections found debris protruding into channels, oily deposits, and white foamy residue.

The study is evidence that contaminated ureteroscopes are being used, with unknown implications for patients, the authors say.

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