This article will address the maintenance of flexible endoscope accessories. We will discuss leak testing, cleaning endoscope valves, and precleaning/point-of-use treatment. Flexible endoscope accessories should be kept clean and dry. The proper use of these accessories is crucial for the success of your operation. However, the best practice is to clean and disinfect endoscopes before every procedure. We will also discuss the cleaning and disinfection of flexible endoscopes after each procedure.
Maintenance of flexible endoscope accessories
The proper maintenance of flexible endoscope accessories is essential for ensuring the longevity of the equipment. Taking care of endoscopes properly can save time and money by avoiding costly repairs. Proper care of flexible endoscopes can also help in the efficient handling of patient cases. It is imperative to properly reprocess these instruments after each use, as well as to properly wrap and store them. Follow the following tips for proper endoscope maintenance.
After reprocessing, endoscopes should be visually checked to ensure that they are still in working condition. If necessary, they should be inspected using additional methods such as lighted magnification. Once reprocessed, endoscopes should be stored according to manufacturer’s IFU (Infection-Free Unit).
When you’re performing endoscopic procedures, it’s important to use leak testing techniques that will help you find any leaks. Fluid invasion can lead to damaged endoscopes. Fluid invasion can be caused by leaking biopsy channels or by bending rubber parts. Regular leak testing with flexible endoscope accessories will ensure that your instruments are free from leaks before a procedure. Fluid invasion may range from a small amount of moisture to the entire scope being flooded.
A simple method to test for leaks in flexible endoscopes is to immerse the scope in a solution for 15 to 30 seconds. Leaks in endoscopes can cause infection and can increase repair costs. Proper leak testing will help you avoid these expensive repairs and ensure the integrity of your endoscope. This prevents any negative outcomes in the patient. In addition to identifying leaks early, leak testing also ensures the safety of your staff.
Cleaning endoscope valves
The valves on endoscopes can harbor biofilm and patient-derived material, making them a potential source of infection. As a result, it is important to remove these endoscope valves regularly to prevent the development of biofilm and infected material. Although endoscope valves are available in disposable versions, the process of cleaning them requires special care. Luckily, these accessories are available in the market.
The primary safety endpoint of reprocessing reusable valves was to measure the microbial contamination of these reprocessed valves. The researchers determined the type of contamination and the percentage of contamination. The analysis was performed in a central laboratory, which was staffed with microbiologists. Using this method, the researchers needed ten pairs of reprocessed endoscope valves and a study monitor who had been trained by the microbiologists in the central laboratory.
Precleaning/point of use treatment of endoscopes
A sterile environment is vital for the safety of both patients and staff using endoscopic devices. All parts of an endoscope must be disinfected, including the working channels and external surface. Sterilization is necessary to eliminate the risk of transmission of infection from one person to another. Among the common infections transmitted via endoscopic equipment are non-lipid viruses (poliovirus, coxsackie virus, etc.) and fungi, such as Candida spp. and Aspergillus spp.
Proper precleaning and point-of-use treatment of flexible endoscope accessories should be performed to ensure that instruments are sterile. The procedures should include leak testing, manual cleaning, disinfection with high-level disinfectant, and rinsing to remove residual contaminants. The steps should be documented, and all equipment should be disposed of in sterile environments.
Cleaning endoscope channels
To ensure the sterility of the instruments used for surgery, it is essential to clean the endoscope channels. Manual cleaning methods may leave organic residues and biofilms behind, increasing the risk of bacterial transmission. Using an automatic cleaning system is a safer option, as it will remove the possibility of biofilm formation. Afterward, sterilization and HLD will remove any remaining microbes, resulting in high microbial reduction.
The cleaning process should begin as soon as the scope is removed. The first step is to wash the scope using a detergent solution, air, or liquid. The manufacturer will provide specific instructions for the use of these cleaning solutions. Generally, the process requires two steps: wiping the scope from the cleanest end to the dirtiest end. The second step involves alternating air and liquid to remove debris.