15% of Colonoscopy Probes Are Unsanitary: Study

Friday, 07 Jun 2013 11:49 AM

By Steve Plamann

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A new study found that three out of 20 reusable gastrointestinal endoscopes harbor unacceptable levels of “bio dirt.”

The flexible scopes are commonly used in colonoscopies and other intestinal screenings and are supposed to be thoroughly cleaned between procedures. Contaminated probes expose patients to a risk of infection.

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“Three out of 20 is an unexpectedly high number of endoscopes failing a cleanliness criterion,” said Marco Bommarito, research specialist in the 3M Infection Prevention Division, which performed the study. “Clearly, we’d like no endoscopes to fail a cleanliness rating.

Researchers tested 275 of the instruments at five hospitals across the U.S.

The scopes are used in 15 to 20 million procedures a year, most commonly to screen for colon cancer.

Researchers say they hope the findings will lead to better disinfecting procedures.

“The cleaning protocols for flexible endoscopes need improvement, such as guidelines tailored to the type of scope,” said Bommarito.
 
 

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