Preventing Fluid Damage to the Flexible Endoscope

Cleaning and Reprocessing an Endoscope After a Failed Leak Test

A scope that fails a leak test should be immediately transported to a service center for repair. The potential for damages increases the longer water remains in the scope. OSHA mandates that medical equipment be “decontaminated to the maximum extent practical before transportation. If decontamination is impractical, label [the equipment] as bio-hazard.”  When a leak is identified in an endoscope, proceeding with the disinfection process needs to be performed with constant pressure to the scope or there is an increased risk of fluid invasion. If a small to medium leak is detected from the bending rubber, the insertion tube or light guide tube, you may choose to follow these steps:

  1. Completely depressurize the scope from the leak test.
  2. Cover the leak with electrical tape.
  3. Repressurize the scope and leave the leak tester attached and pressurized throughout the remaining steps of reprocessing.
  4. Clean the scope externally and internally with enzymatic cleaner, being sure to brush all channels. Rinse.
  5. When possible, manually soak the endoscope for the recommended time with a high level disinfectant. Rinse.
  6. Dry the external scope surfaces with a soft, lint free cloth.  Dry the internal channels of the scope by applying air through the channels, follow this with 70 – 90% alcohol, and then flow with air again.
  7. Depressurize the scope.
  8. If shipping a contaminated endoscope, contain it in a 3 mil red bag and label it as a biohazard prior to placing it in a protective shipping container for transfer to the repair facility.

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