Dirty endoscopes are a big issue in healthcare. In fact, there are more healthcare-associated infections related to contaminated endoscopes compared to any other medical device. These transmissions are primarily due to defective equipment, endoscope reprocessing failures, and noncompliance with recommended guidelines.
The question remains: If there is such an awareness around endoscope cross-contamination, why are we still seeing it occur within clinical practice?
Cross-contamination issues occur mostly when the endoscope reprocessing procedure is being compromised. For example, the recommended guidelines may be disregarded, or the equipment being used is faulty, or recommended process steps are not missed, or manufacturer’s instructions are not followed.The FDA states that infections have occurred due to incorrect disinfection methods, such as the failure to flush or brush channels, or the use of expired detergent or high-level disinfectant. Correct repetition, and compliance, with the disinfection guidelines have proven to be vital when it comes to the reprocessing process. However, these efforts aren’t always enough.
Reprocessing failures related to disinfection with an automated endoscope reprocessor (AER) have also been reported. Due to the lack of an optimal drying process, inadequate cleaning technique, and using contaminated water are all factors that have come up. One study found that after AER sterilization, bacteria was detected in the ports and channels of 60% of patient-ready endoscopes, including gram-positive and gram-negative species.
A Sterile Solution for Every Patient
The reality is that the conventional endoscope design, narrow and numerous lumens, make it extremely difficult to remove the microorganisms, secretions, and blood that contaminate the scope during use. But what if the endoscope never came in contact with the patient?
The single-use EndoSheath® Protective Barrier provides a sterile, cost-effective endoscopy solution for every patient. Designed as a strong, durable microbial barrier, the EndoSheath barrier completely isolates the endoscope from the patient during the procedure. Even the traditional difficult-to-clean endoscope components -- the channels, the ports, and the seals -- are manufactured directly into the disposal EndoSheath itself. By removing the single-use EndoSheath barrier after the endoscopy procedure, you remove and discard all surfaces that have been in contact with the patient. With a new EndoSheath, all patient contact areas are sterile once again.
EndoSheath simplifies safety compliance while eliminating the lengthy and complicated cleaning and disinfection processes associated with conventional scopes.
This improves equipment turnaround rates, allowing you to see more patients and minimize staff time that is focused on reprocessing. EndoSheath products have a 3-year shelf life, they are included in the ANSI/AAMI ST91:2015 National Standards for Flexible and Semi-Rigid Endoscope Processing in Health Care Facilities, and they are FDA Cleared, CE Marked, and CDC recognized.