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FDA, CDC, and VA release recommendations for endoscope reprocessing

Given recent incidents of  improper endoscope reprocessing procedures [1], the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), CDC, and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) have released a joint communication [2] cautioning healthcare facilities about the risk of improper disinfection and sterilization procedures.

The recommendations have been reviewed by The Joint Commission, the accrediting agency that recently tweaked its IC standards [3]. Because flexible endoscopes are difficult to clean, the release urges healthcare facilities, including hospitals, ambulatory care facilities, and private physician practices, to develop a quality system program that covers all aspects of endoscopy procedure management.Below are the general recommendations for healthcare facilities:

The release also includes a bulleted list of responsibilities for the manufacturers, including instructions that are easily accessible and easy to understand, specify which AER is compatible with certain makes and models of endoscopes, and investigate clusters of infections associated with your device.

Specific FDA endoscopy processing procedures are included at the end of the document. You can also refer to the CDC/HICPAC Guideline for Disinfection and Sterilization in Healthcare Facilities, 2008. [4]

You can also download the endoscopy excerpt from the CDC guidelines on the Tools page [5], along with a number of other sterilization checklists.