Survey Reveals Worldwide Practices on Flexible Endoscope Reprocessing


Endoscopy-related infections represent an important threat for healthcare systems worldwide. Recent outbreaks of infections with multidrug resistant micro-organisms have highlighted the problems of contaminated endoscopes. Endoscopes at highest risk for contamination have intricate mechanisms, multiple internal channels and narrow lumens that are especially problematic to clean. In light of raised awareness about the necessity for meticulous reprocessing of all types of endoscopes, a call for international collaboration is needed. An overview is presented on current practices for endoscope reprocessing in facilities worldwide.

Kenters, et al. (2018) report that an electronic survey was developed and disseminated by the International Society for Antimicrobials and Chemotherapy. The survey consisted of 50 questions aimed at assessing the reprocessing of flexible endoscopes internationally. It covered three core elements: stakeholder involvement, assessment of perceived risks, and reprocessing process.

The survey received a total of 165 completed responses from 39 countries. It is evident that most facilities, 82 percent (n = 136), have a standard operating procedure. There is, however a lot of variation within the flexible endoscope reprocessing practices observed. The need for regular training and education of reprocessing practitioners was identified by 50 percent (n = 83) of the respondents as main concerns that need to be addressed in order to increase patient safety in endoscope reprocessing procedures.

The researchers say this international survey on current flexible endoscope reprocessing identified a large variation for reprocessing practices among different healthcare facilities/countries. A standardized education and training program with a competency assessment is essential to prevent reprocessing lapses and improve patient safety.

Reference: Kenters N, et al. Worldwide practices on flexible endoscope reprocessing. Antimicrobial Resistance & Infection Control. 201;7:153

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