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Elective Surgery is Essential - August 2020 - Subscribe to Outpatient Surgery Magazine

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T he proper cleaning and high-level disin- fecting of flexible endoscopes has been under increased scrutiny because their long, narrow channels make it difficult for reprocessing techs to access or see contaminants stuck deep inside lumens during man- ual cleaning. If bacteria remain in scopes after man- ual cleaning, high-level disinfecting won't be effec- tive and the risk of cross-contamination increases. Right now, however, the only infection on most people's minds is COVID-19, which can reside in both the respiratory and the gastrointestinal tracts — where endoscopes travel. If a patient is COVID- 19 positive, the virus can very likely be present in the scope used during the procedure. The pandemic has caused many patients to postpone colono- scopies, among other elective procedures, for fear of being exposed to the coronavirus. It's a legitimate concern. Or is it? "Standard cleaning and disinfection should elimi- nate any viral particles," says Robert Lim, MD, FACS, FASMBS, vice chair of education at Oklahoma University School of Medicine in Tulsa. Other experts express similar sentiments. "Our reprocess- ing has stayed pretty much the same," says Muriel Moyo, MS, BSN, RN, CCRN-K, NE-BC, clinical direc- tor of OPSC, PACU & Endoscopy at PIH Health Downey (Calif.) Hospital, which regularly cultures its scopes to check for residual contaminants. Monjur Ahmed, MD, an assistant professor of gastroenterolo- gy at Jefferson University in Philadelphia, told us that after speaking with his scope vendor, he's satisfied 5 8 • O U T P A T I E N T S U R G E R Y M A G A Z I N E • A U G U S T 2 0 2 0 Joe Paone | Senior Associate Editor How Does COVID-19 Impact Endoscope Reprocessing? Now's the time to reemphasize the importance of meticulous cleaning and high-level disinfecting. TOUGH JOB Manual cleaning of endoscopes is more critical than ever in the COVID-19 era. Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center

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