G_IPC_40 Endoscope Guidelines

The purpose of this guideline is to provide best practice guidance in relation to infection prevention and control pertaining to decontamination of endoscopes within the community and primary care settings.

Principles for processing heat sensitive endoscopes

  • initial manual clean
  • disinfection on automated washer/disinfector
  • rinsing with bocienc free water 

Decontamination should begin as soon as possible after endoscopes and their accessories have been used. Thorough manual cleaning with a suitable detergent and in accordance with the endoscope manufacturer's instructions is an essential first stage.

The level of decontamination depends upon the invasiveness of the procedure. Endoscopes used in sterile body areas eg, laparoscopes / arthroscopes, should be sterilised before and after use.

Those in contact with non sterile centres can be decontaminated by chemical disinfection. Failure to remove deposits of blood, faeces, tissue, mucus, infectious agents or biofilm may result in cross infection, misdiagnosis or instrument malfunction.

After manual cleaning the instrument should be either disinfected or sterilized. This should be performed by using an automated endoscope reprocessor (AER). The final stage of the process is drying and ensuring safe storage.

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