Outpatient Surgery Magazine

No Guarantees - March 2017 - Subscribe to Outpatient Surgery Magazine

Outpatient Surgery Magazine, providing current information on Surgical Services, Surgical Facility Administration, Outpatient Surgery News and Trends, OR Excellence and more.

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Page 30 of 138

the February American Journal of Infection Control (osmag.net/C8WRex), raised the frightening possibility that you can't count on current reprocessing practices to consistently decontami- nate your scopes — even if, and it's a mighty big if, your techs meticu- lously follow reprocessing guidelines and don't take shortcuts. "The study was kind of chilling, but I was not shocked by it," says Chris Lavanchy, the engineering director of ECRI Institute's Health Devices Group. "Many people have long been suspicious that the manu- al cleaning process is not 100% reliable." Twelve of the 20 reprocessed scopes examined during the 7-month study tested positive for microbial growth, indicating a failure of the disinfection process, despite being disinfected using the current guidelines. Researchers found that all 20 endoscopes had visual irreg- ularities, such as fluid, discoloration and debris in the channels. The finding of residual fluid was significant because any bacteria present will flourish in a moist environment and lead to the development of biofilm — which can be difficult or impossible to remove, says lead study author Cori Ofstead, MSPH, an epidemiologist and president and CEO of Ofstead & Associates in St. Paul, Minn. "If the scope's not clean, it can't be disinfected or sterilized. If the scope is damaged, it can't be disinfected or sterilized," says Ms. Ofstead. In implicating the critical point-of-use precleaning and cleaning steps that precede the disinfection cycle as the weak links in the reprocessing chain, the study hammers home the point that you can't disinfect a dirty scope. "Ever tried to wash a plate that has a bit of dried egg on it?" asks Mr. Lavanchy in a fitting dishwashing analogy. "There's so much emphasis on the disinfection process that we often overlook the cleaning step. But if you don't clean properly, you can't ensure that you can effectively dis- M A R C H 2 0 1 7 • O U T PA T I E N TS U R G E R Y. N E T • 3 1

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