Getinge’s passion for saving lives and keeping patients safe also includes endoscopy procedures. Though flexible endoscopes involve an increased risk of patient infection compared to traditional surgical instruments, measures can be taken to avoid a potential health risk. T-DOC Endo helps healthcare professionals reduce endoscope-related infections by ensuring correct handling of these complex endoscopes.
Getinge provides healthcare professionals with a complete solution to overcome endoscope-related infection challenges. The T-DOC Endo ensures correct handling of these complex endoscopes and compliance with regulatory standards and ultimately the solution enhances patient and staff safety.
T-DOC Endo provides full traceability and documentation to show that all endoscopes have been processed correctly. In addition, it also creates a track record of all patients, machine processes and actions that the endoscope encounters.
With numerous options for reporting and statistics, T-DOC Endo helps users base their procedures on best practices and actual data. Users are also provided with clear guidance via the intuitive user interface to make sure that selected handling steps and endoscope procedures are followed, which ultimately enhances patient and staff safety.
“Flexible endoscopes are widely used across the world to perform both diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. They are smart and save the patient unnecessary pain and troublesome recovery, compared to e.g. invasive surgery”, says Niels Mosekjær Madsen, Product Line Manager T-DOC at Getinge. “In addition, the cost of procedures can be low compared to alternatives”.
However, flexible endoscopy procedures involve a higher risk of infection resulting from exposure to microorganisms, secretions and blood from other patients than in traditional surgeries. Flexible endoscopes contain small, interconnected internal channels that require meticulous thorough cleaning and disinfection in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions and industry guidelines.
Another factor that increases the risk of infection is that the various local, national and international regulations that require sterilization of all medical devices, including surgical instruments, do not apply for endoscopes.
“Since endoscopes are considered semi-critical devices, they are only required to be high-level disinfected – even the endoscopes used for biopsies where tissue samples are taken from the patient’s mucosa. Yet, the endoscope is in direct contact with the samples which can be a source of infection and ultimately incite a cross-contamination between patients,” Niels continues.
Several professional societies and standards organizations have published guidelines for endoscope reprocessing, but they mostly cover topics such as handling, expiry times, storage and transport – not sterilization. Sterilization provides a greater margin of safety as it both provides a higher level of bacteria kill than high-level disinfection and reliably inactivates all bacterial spores.[i] Even though it is not a requirement, when possible and practical, hospitals should sterilize flexible and semi-rigid endoscopes in low temperature or steam sterilizers to improve infection prevention practices.[ii]
[i] Gastrointestinal Endoscopes: A Need to Shift from Disinfection to Sterilization, Rutala, Weber. JAMA 2014. 312: 1405-1406
[ii] ANSI/AAMI ST91 2015: Flexible and semi-rigid endoscope reprocessing in healthcare facilities