Posted on November 17, 2015 by Cogentix Medical

The Use of Glutaraldehyde in Urology Practices and an Alternative

Physician taking notes post procedureChemical disinfectants in urology practices come with risks and responsibilities. Best practices to ensure staff and patient safety, as well as compliance within the law, involves a complete understanding of the requirements for using such chemicals, and the kind of alternatives available. The EndoSheath® protective barrier, used with PrimeSightTM cystoscopes, provides an alternative for practices searching for reducing exposure risks associated with glutaraldehyde and other toxic chemicals.

Chemical Concerns

Glutaraldehyde is a colorless, oily, liquid chemical with a pungent odor, used as a cold sterilant, or for the preparation of grafts and bioprosthesis.  Glutaraldehyde is most often used to disinfect equipment that cannot be heat-sterilized. These include instrumentation for dialysis, suction bottles and endoscopes.

Healthcare workers can be exposed to glutaraldehyde through inhalation or skin contact. Constant, everyday exposure to glutaraldehyde can lead to throat and lung irritation, asthma and difficulty breathing, burning eyes and conjunctivitis, as well as other symptoms. The toxic effects of glutaraldehyde in humans and animals include acute respiratory and eye irritation, skin sensitization, vomiting, diarrhea, neurological disorders, reproductive issues and even death  when glutaraldehyde exposure is at high concentrations.

Therefore, a urology practice needs to invest in best practices and special equipment to ensure staff and patient safety.

Safety Matters

The use of the chemical disinfectants, such as ones with glutaraldehyde, requires extensive safety training by urology practice staff. According to a study published in Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology, involving 4,657 health care workers who use high-level disinfectants, revealed that 33% reported that they did not always wear protective gloves.  This is concerning, especially given the associated risks.

Since many medical facilities rely on the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) accreditation procedures to assure the public that their particular institution meets quality standards, JCAHO will require adherence to acceptable thresholds in the use of chemical disinfectants. Even with controls including general dilution ventilation (10 room air changes per hour), as well as vapor control systems for endoscope processors, it is still difficult to maintain compliance with threshold limits.

A Safe Alternative

The sterile, single-use EndoSheath barrier covers the cystoscope and completely isolates it from patient contact.  At the completion of the procedure, the scope is removed from the sheath. After a quick rinse and wipe-down, the scope ready for a new EndoSheath product.  The result is a safe, sterile EndoSheath barrier for each patient without the use of harmful HLD chemicals.  And the time-saving is immense as well.  PrimeSight scope reprocessing with the EndoSheath barrier is just 3 steps and 10 minutes.  Compare that with the lengthy volume of steps and time required with conventional scope processing.

The EndoSheath  barrier also incorporates a sterile, disposable channel for suction, irrigation, and tool passage, which supports a full range of diagnostic and therapeutic procedures.

PrimeSight cystoscopy using the EndoSheath barrier is a safe, smart, viable alternative that is creating paradigm change in cystoscopy, allowing practices to move away from the use of glutaraldehyde and other toxic chemicals.

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