Advances in Endoscope Reprocessing Technology and Its Impact on Pathogen Transmission

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Pathogen transmissions via flexible endoscopes have been documented in the literature and have been historically related to human error or omission of steps in the reprocessing cycle. The 2008 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report challenged manufacturers of automated endoscope reprocessors to improve and advance technology to automate more of the reprocessing steps. A review and synthesis of the literature following the 2008 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report was performed to evaluate whether advances in reprocessing technology have occurred and whether these have had an impact on pathogen transmission via flexible endoscopes. The Iowa Model of Evidence-Based Practice to Promote Quality Care was used to guide the project. The literature search regarding pathogen transmission related to flexible endoscopes yielded 10 documents citing infections from 2008 to 2015. A total of 353 patients were identified as having been infected with a contaminated gastroscope, bronchoscope, or duodenoscope. An evaluation of reprocessing technology identified 3 automated endoscope reprocessors with enhanced capabilities and flushing devices intended to automate portions of the manual cleaning step.

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