Emerging Science, Research, and Application

3201 - Moisture Retention in Flexible Endoscopes: Results of a Multisite Drying Study

Friday, June 15
10:00 AM - 10:30 AM
Location: Minneapolis Convention Center, Room 200 HIJ

Outbreaks of infections associated with flexible endoscopes have been attributed to built-up biofilm and residual moisture inside endoscopes. Although reprocessing guidelines and manufacturers’ instructions for use recommend drying endoscopes before storage, several research teams have detected visible fluid droplets inside ports and channels after storage. This session will describe the results of a prospective study conducted in three hospitals to evaluate the effectiveness of methods used to dry endoscopes. Chemical test strips were used to detect moisture, and borescopes were used to examine interior surfaces to determine whether visible droplets were present. Contamination levels were assessed using biochemical tests and microbial cultures. The methods used for reprocessing, drying, and storing endoscopes were assessed using interviews and direct observation. Storage cabinets were inspected and tested for cleanliness.

There was a high level of concordance between moisture test results and findings from visual examinations. Most of the endoscopes at two of three sites retained water during 24+ hours of storage. The methods used to reprocess and dry endoscopes at these two sites were less robust than the protocols followed at the other site. Contamination levels were high at all sites, and waterborne pathogens including Stenotrophomonas maltophilia were found in several endoscopes. This presentation will include a discussion of factors that may influence fluid retention and foster the growth of biofilm, as well as strategies for reducing the risks associated with reprocessing, drying, and storing endoscopes.

Learning Objectives:

Cori L. Ofstead

President & CEO
Ofstead & Associates, Inc.
Saint Paul, Minnesota

Cori L. Ofstead, MSPH, is an epidemiologist with 25 years of experience designing and conducting studies about the impact of clinical processes on patient outcomes. She is the founder and CEO of Ofstead & Associates, Inc., an independent company that specializes in designing and conducting real-world research. She has served as the Principal Investigator on several studies related to infection prevention, vaccination, instrument reprocessing, and chronic disease management. Ms. Ofstead is nationally recognized for her outcomes research, and her studies have been published in peer-reviewed journals, including American Journal of Infection Control, Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, Journal of Hospital Infection, and Gastroenterology Nursing. She currently serves as a reviewer for AJIC, Endoscopy, and Vaccine.


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3201 - Moisture Retention in Flexible Endoscopes: Results of a Multisite Drying Study

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