Endoscopy sterile processing guidelines help prevent the transmission of infections. Over time, these guidelines are revised to maintain professional standards and comply with the latest endoscope processing regulations. To begin, here are some common endoscopy sterile processing guidelines that your practice should comply with:
Transport and Leak Testing:
Transport endoscopes to the reprocessing area in a way that prevents damage and contamination. Leak testing helps identify leaks in the endoscope’s channels. It is critically important to verify the leak tester’s pressure accuracy. The results of the leak test should be recorded, and if the leak test shows a failure, it should be removed from service and reported according to the healthcare organization’s policy.
Manual cleaning involves using enzymatic detergents and brushes designed for endoscope cleaning. This helps to remove organic debris and biofilm from the instrument’s channels and surfaces.
Rinsing and Drying:
After manual cleaning, rinse endoscopes thoroughly to remove any residual detergent. Proper drying is essential to prevent the growth of microorganisms. Use forced air or other validated drying methods.
Disinfection or Sterilization:
High-level disinfection involves using chemicals to eliminate most microorganisms. Sterilization ensures complete elimination of all microorganisms.
Regular Maintenance and Inspection:
Endoscopes and associated equipment should undergo regular maintenance and inspection to identify any defects or wear and tear that could compromise patient safety or reprocessing efficacy.
Documentation and Tracking:
It’s very important to track endoscope use. Keep thorough records of each endoscope’s usage, reprocessing cycle, and any maintenance or repairs. For example, using SafeTag Infection Control Timers helps facilitate the decontamination of endoscopes using a time-sensitive color-changing mechanism. For more information, click here.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Staff involved in endoscope reprocessing should wear appropriate PPE, including gloves, gowns, masks, and eye protection. All forms of PPE protect professionals from exposure to potentially infectious materials.
Adherence to Manufacturer's Instructions:
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for reprocessing endoscopes. Manufacturers often provide specific guidelines and recommendations for cleaning, disinfection, and maintenance.
Note that endoscope reprocessing guidelines may vary based on the type of medical practice and advancements in technology.
For the most current and accurate information, always refer to reputable health organizations and regulatory agencies.