BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Outbreaks of transmission of infection related to endoscopy despite reported adherence to reprocessing guidelines warrant scrutiny of all potential contributing factors. Recent reports from ambulatory surgery centers indicated widespread significant occult damage within endoscope working channels, raising concerns regarding the potential detrimental impact of this damage on the adequacy of endoscope reprocessing.METHODS: We inspected working channels of all 68 endoscopes at our academic institution using a novel flexible inspection endoscope. Inspections were recorded and videos reviewed by 3 investigators to evaluate and rate channel damage and/or debris. Working channel rinsates were obtained from all endoscopes, and adenosine triphosphate (ATP) bioluminescence was measured.RESULTS: Overall endoscope working channel damage was rated as minimal and/or mild and was consistent with expected wear and tear (median 1.59 on our 5-point scale). Our predominant findings included superficial scratches (98.5%) and scratches with adherent peel (76.5%). No channel perforations, stains, or burns were detected. The extent of damage was not predicted by endoscope age. Minor punctate debris was common, and a few small drops of fluid were noted in 42.6% of endoscopes after reprocessing and drying. The presence of residual fluid predicted higher ATP bioluminescence values. The presence of visualized working channel damage or debris was not associated with elevated ATP bioluminescence values.CONCLUSION: The flexible inspection endoscope enables high-resolution imaging of endoscope working channels and offers endoscopy units an additional modality for endoscope surveillance, potentially complementing bacterial cultures and ATP values. Our study, conducted in a busy academic endoscopy unit, indicated predominately mild damage to endoscope working channels, which did not correlate with elevated ATP values.
View details for PubMedID 29425885