Last February, UCLA released a statement concerning an outbreak of the carbapenem resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) bacteria that occurred a few months prior. It involved a cross contamination in the use of a duodenoscope. Two patients died from the infection and five more were also infected. A similar case took place in Illinois just months before this incident. Endoscopies take place every day, so you would think that it’s a safe procedure. So…
Why do these cross-contamination cases pop up?
Whenever you undergo an endoscopic operation, you are essentially sharing a used endoscope with someone else, meaning you are subject to an endoscope that may not be 100% rid of the previous user’s germs. Any time a doctor uses an Olympus bronchoscope, there is a real possibility of an infection passed from a previous patient. The risk for infection or outbreak is significant, with over 19 million people undergoing endoscopic procedures every year.
A few reasons why patients are infected are reprocessing failures, guideline neglections, and defective equipment. Infections were more likely to take place when incorrect disinfection methods were used. This ranges from failure to flush channels to using expired detergent. Therefore, it is more important than ever to care for your Olympus endoscopes. We discussed how to go about upkeeping your refurbished endoscopy equipment in a previous blog post.
However, even when applying best practices to disinfect endoscopy equipment patients can still be subject to cross contamination. Instruments that have long, narrow channels are difficult to thoroughly clean. Germs have a higher chance of hiding in the scope the greater the complexity of the endoscope.
What solutions are there?
Using disposable sheaths that cover the tube-like apparatus is the best way to prevent an infection. This way, the endoscope itself never touches the patient. It is a similar approach to using disposable, one-time use needles so there is no risk of cross contamination. Like needles these sheaths are inexpensive, disposable, and very effective in its one-time use.
Sheaths are also cost-effective. Cleaning procedures are usually a 43-step process for a reduction of bacteria, not a complete purge. Using a sheath would reduce the number of steps drastically down to two. Because sheaths are used as buffers between the patient and the Olympus endoscope, the equipment does not get contaminated, reducing the need for hard chemicals and increasing the life of refurbished endoscopes.
By raising discourse for endoscopic safety, we can eventually utilize sheathing technology and integrate it into this common procedure to eliminate infections via cross contamination. For used or refurbished endoscopy equipment sold in pristine condition, come to M.D. Endoscopy for the endoscope that fits your needs.