Importance of Dryness During Endoscope Operation

Flexible endoscope is one of most important medical devices worldwide, however the reusable device has a main risk that if not properly processed, infectious diseases can be easily transmitted from one patient to another.


A critical step which is easily omitted during endoscope process is drying the device before storage, Currently there are several guidelines and standards addressed importance of complete dryness of endoscope in prior to its storage. Regulatory organization such as SGNA, CDC and AAMI have also emphasis the importance of dryness of endoscopy.


What do the authority agencies suggest:


—AAMI recommends air drying until no moisture is visible. Some institutions attempt to use a syringe to inject air to remove moisture from the endoscope. Unfortunately, this is not recommended as it generates very little air and pressure. Syringes do not properly dry endoscopes and should not be used for drying purposes.


—AAMI recommends the use of a desiccant such as alcohol if permitted by the Instructions for Use (IFU). Before using alcohol, the IFU of the device should be checked. Some endoscopic IFUs discourage the use of alcohol, stating that alcohol can damage the endoscope’s insulation, materials, and its internal mechanisms.


—Once the endoscope has dried, it should be placed in a storage cabinet that meets AAMI National Standards. All endoscopes should be suspended in a way that prevents damage. There are horizontal storage cabinets on the market that are verified and licensed by the US FDA. Regardless of the storage cabinet used, endoscopes should always be stored in accordance with the requirements of the IFU.


—The technician should take special care to avoid tightly wrapping the endoscope or causing any damage to the endoscope. There should be enough space to hang endoscopes in the vertical cabinet without touching the bottom of the cabinet, and the circulating air can touch all endoscopes. Also, endoscopes should be stored so that end-users can easily access what they need and minimize the risk of inadvertently contaminating another endoscope.


—Gloves should be worn when operating the endoscope, and no bare hands should be allowed to touch it. Hands contain many microorganisms, contaminants, and oils that can contaminate mold. The water should be reprocessed together with the suction valve, lid, or any reusable removable device. This enables staff to directly track the endoscope used by each patient. All stored endoscopes should be labelled so that end users can verify that the endoscopes are safely sterilized and dried.


—The suspension time or expiration date of flexible endoscopes should be based on institutional risk assessment and gap analysis. Routine and periodic quality assurance to verify that the drying method of endoscopes is optimal and that employees dry dry endoscopes prior to storage.

—Performing quality assurance testing also ensures that employees don’t take shortcuts. All QIs and inspections should be recorded for tracking and trend analysis. Ensuring that all endoscopes are dry prior to storage is critical for quality and patient safety. Endoscope drying is not an easy task. However, it is critical for reducing hospital-acquired infections.

Post time: Aug-11-2022