- OSHA Healthcare Advisor - http://blogs.hcpro.com/osha -

Sterile Matters: Scoping out endoscope challenges

There have been many reports of healthcare facilities having to notify patients to get tested for diseases such as hepatitis B and C and HIV because potentially contaminated devices used in procedures. Many times these incidents involve endoscopes.

Endoscope scopes are challenging devices to clean and disinfect. In fact, they among the most difficult to process for numerous reasons. However, endoscopes must be managed properly for the safety of all of those who will receive one for use during a procedure.

Although there are tons of materials that have been published on “how to clean” these devices, it really comes down to a few simple principles, no matter where these scopes will be used:

These are a couple reminders that are sometimes lost in the moment when turning equipment in often very quick paced environments. A little upfront time and periodic reviewing of instructions you believe you know by heart already will help to prevent the spread of unnecessary infection to an unsuspecting person (or more).

Editor’s note: Download the High-Level Disinfection of Endoscopes section from the CDC Guideline for Disinfection and Sterilization in Healthcare Facilities, 2008 from the OSHA Healthcare Advisor Tools page. [1]