Cross Contamination from Flexible Endoscopes Makes Top 10 List, Again

For the third year in a row the ECRI Institute has included Cross Contamination from Flexible Endoscopes on their Top 10 Health Technology Hazards List.  This year it makes the list in the number 4 position.  This is down from the first appearance in 2010 and the number 3 spot last year.  While the position of Cross Contamination from Flexible Endoscopes on the hazard list has been reduced, the importance of proper reprocessing should be kept at the top of every endoscopy department and clinical engineering list for patient safety.

In order for a patient safety hazard to be included on the list it must meet one or more of the following factors:

  • Occurrences have resulted in death or serious injury.
  • Occurrences have been frequent.
  • When it occurs there is a high probability that a number of people will be affected.
  • Occurrences have been given high profile media coverage.

ECRI has Included Recommendations to make your safety initiatives as effective as possible :

  • Ensure that a specific reprocessing protocol exists for each flexible endoscope model in your facility’s inventory.
  • Periodically review protocols to ensure that they are clear and comprehensive and that they reflect the current environment.
  • When developing or reviewing protocols, ensure that all steps are addressed and documented in adequate detail.
  • If your facility reprocesses endoscopy equipment using a reprocessing unit ensure that:
    • Endoscopes are compatible with the reprocessor and its disinfecting/sterilizing agent.
    • The appropriate channel adapters are available to connect the endoscope to the reprocessor, and staff are familiar with the correct endoscope/ connector combinations.
    • Staff are familiar with and adhere to appropriate reprocessor maintenance schedules, including the periodic replacement of particulate and bacterial filters.
    • Ensure that documented protocols are readily available to staff and that staff are trained to understand and follow them.

To these MER would also like to add the recommendation to conduct regular visual inspection during reprocessing and preventative maintenance inspections with 10X magnification to identify any manintenance related crevices where bio burden can accumulate and prevent adequate cleaning.  Read below for more information…