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Cleaning and disinfection of equipment for gastrointestinal endoscopy. Report of a Working Party of the British Society of Gastroenterology Endoscopy Committee.

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Occupational Exposure, Humans, Hazardous Substances, prevention & control, Equipment Contamination, Endoscopes, Gastrointestinal, Disinfection, Disinfectants

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      Abstract

      Two per cent glutaraldehyde is the most commonly used disinfectant in endoscopy units within the UK. Unfortunately adverse reactions to glutaraldehyde are common among endoscopy personnel and the Health and Safety Commission has recommended substantial reductions in atmospheric levels of glutaraldehyde in order to comply with the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations, 1994. The Working Party addressed ways of eliminating or minimising exposure to glutaraldehyde in endoscopy units by reviewing alternative disinfectants and the use of automated washer/disinfectors. Alternatives to glutaraldehyde must be at least as microbicidal as glutaraldehyde, non-irritating and compatible with endoscope components and decontamination equipment. Peracetic acid is a highly effective disinfectant and may be a suitable alternative to glutaraldehyde. Peracetic acid has a vinegary-like odour and is claimed to be less irritating than glutaraldehyde. Experience with this agent remains relatively limited and the Working Party recommends that peracetic acid should be used in sealed or exhaust ventilated facilities until further experience is obtained. It is considerably more expensive than glutaraldehyde, is less stable and large volumes have to be stored. It causes cosmetic (but not functional) damage to endoscopes and is not compatible with some washer/ disinfectors. Chlorine dioxide is a powerful oxidising agent and highly effective as a disinfectant. Once activated it must be stored in sealed containers with little head space. Fumes cause irritation and sealed or exhaust ventilated facilities are necessary. The agent may damage some metallic and polymer components of endoscopes and automated washer/disinfectors and compatibility should be established with equipment manufacturers before the agent is used. Other disinfectants such as peroxygen compounds and quaternary ammonium derivatives are less suitable because of unsatisfactory mycobactericidal and/or virucidal activity, or incompatibility with endoscopes and automated washer/disinfectors. Alcohol is effective but, on prolonged contact, is damaging to lens cements. It is also flammable and therefore unsuitable for use in large quantities in automated systems. Superoxidised water (Sterilox) is an electrochemical solution (anolyte) containing a mixture of radicals with strong oxidising properties. It is highly microbicidal when freshly generated, provided items are thoroughly clean and strict generation criteria are met--that is, current, pH, redox potential. It seems to be safe for users and provided field trials substantiate laboratory efficacy tests, and the agent is non-damaging, it too may become an alternative to glutaraldehyde. When 2% glutaraldehyde is used for manual and automated disinfection, 10 minutes' immersion is recommended for endoscopes before the session and between patients. This will destroy vegetative bacteria and viruses (including hepatitis B virus (HBV) and HIV). A five minute contact period is recommended for 0.35% peracetic acid and for chlorine dioxide (1100 ppm av ClO2), but if immersed for 10 minutes sporicidal activity will also be achieved. At the end of each session 20 minutes' immersion in glutaraldehyde or five minutes in peracetic acid or chlorine dioxide is recommended. Microbiological studies show that 20 minutes of exposure to 2% glutaraldehyde destroys most organisms, including Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The Working Party concludes therefore that immersion of the endoscope in 2% glutaraldehyde for 20 minutes is sufficient for endoscopy involving patients with AIDS and other immunodeficiency states or pulmonary tuberculosis. Similarly, 20 minutes' immersion is recommended at the start of the list and between cases for endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) when high level disinfection is required. Cleaning and disinfection of endoscopes should be undertaken by trained staff in a dedicated room. Thorough cleaning with detergent

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      1727070
      9616326

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