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      A Review of Current Disinfectants for Gastrointestinal Endoscopic Reprocessing

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          Gastrointestinal endoscopy is gaining popularity for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. However, concerns over endoscope-related nosocomial infections are increasing, together with interest by the general public in safe and efficient endoscopy. For this reason, reprocessing the gastrointestinal endoscope is an important step for effective performance of endoscopy. Disinfectants are essential to the endoscope reprocessing procedure. Before selecting an appropriate disinfectant, their characteristics, limitations and means of use must be fully understood. Herein, we review the characteristics of several currently available disinfectants, including their uses, potency, advantages, and disadvantages. Most disinfectants can be used to reprocess gastrointestinal endoscopes if the manufacturer's guidelines are followed. The selection and use of a suitable disinfectant depends on the individual circumstances of each endoscopy suite.

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          Most cited references 31

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          Transmission of infection by gastrointestinal endoscopy and bronchoscopy.

          To review reports on the transmission of infections by flexible gastrointestinal endoscopy and bronchoscopy in order to determine common infecting microorganisms, circumstances of transmission, and methods of risk reduction. Relevant English-language articles were identified through prominent review articles and a MEDLINE search (1966 to July 1992); additional references were selected from the bibliographies of identified articles. All selected articles related to transmission of infection by gastrointestinal endoscopy or bronchoscopy; 265 articles were reviewed in detail. Two hundred and eighty-one infections were transmitted by gastrointestinal endoscopy, and 96 were transmitted by gastrointestinal endoscopy, spectrum of these infections ranged from asymptomatic colonization to death. Salmonella species and Pseudomonas aeruginosa were repeatedly identified as the causative agents of infections transmitted by gastrointestinal endoscopy, and Mycobacterium tuberculosis, atypical mycobacteria, and P. aeruginosa were the most common causes of infections transmitted by bronchoscopy. One case of hepatitis B virus transmission via gastrointestinal endoscopy was documented. Major reasons for transmission were improper cleaning and disinfection procedures; the contamination of endoscopes by automatic washers; and an inability to decontaminate endoscopes, despite the use of standard disinfection techniques, because of their complex channel and valve systems. The most common agents of infection transmitted by endoscopy are Salmonella, Pseudomonas, and Mycobacterium species. To prevent endoscopic transmission of infections, recommended disinfection guidelines must be followed, the effectiveness of automatic washers must be carefully monitored, and improvements in endoscope design are needed to facilitate effective cleaning and disinfection.
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            APIC guideline for selection and use of disinfectants. 1994, 1995, and 1996 APIC Guidelines Committee. Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, Inc.

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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.

              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

                Author and article information

                Clin Endosc
                Clin Endosc
                Clinical Endoscopy
                The Korean Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy
                July 2013
                31 July 2013
                : 46
                : 4
                : 337-341
                [1 ]Department of Internal Medicine, KEPCO Medical Center, Seoul, Korea.
                [2 ]Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Internal Medicine, Kyung Hee University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
                [3 ]Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Department of Internal Medicine, Institute of Digestive Disease and Nutrition, Korea University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
                [4 ]Department of Internal Medicine, Dongguk University College of Medicine, Gyeongju, Korea.
                [5 ]Department of Internal Medicine, Dongguk University Graduate School of Medicine, Goyang, Korea.
                [6 ]Digestive Disease Center and Research Institute, Department of Internal Medicine, Soonchunhyang University College of Medicine, Bucheon, Korea.
                [7 ]Department of Internal Medicine, Seoul St. Mary's Hospital, The Catholic University of Korea College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Jae Young Jang. Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Internal Medicine, Kyung Hee University School of Medicine, 23 Kyungheedae-ro, Dongdaemun-gu, Seoul 130-872, Korea. Tel: +82-2-958-8150, Fax: +82-2-968-1848, jyjang@
                Copyright © 2013 Korean Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


                Radiology & Imaging

                reprocessing, disinfectants, endoscopy, gastrointestinal


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