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Advances in Endoscope Reprocessing Technology and Its Impact on Pathogen Transmission

Shellnutt, Cathleen MSN, APRN, AGCNS-BC, CGRN

doi: 10.1097/SGA.0000000000000267

Pathogen transmissions via flexible endoscopes have been documented in the literature and have been historically related to human error or omission of steps in the reprocessing cycle. The 2008 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report challenged manufacturers of automated endoscope reprocessors to improve and advance technology to automate more of the reprocessing steps. A review and synthesis of the literature following the 2008 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report was performed to evaluate whether advances in reprocessing technology have occurred and whether these have had an impact on pathogen transmission via flexible endoscopes. The Iowa Model of Evidence-Based Practice to Promote Quality Care was used to guide the project. The literature search regarding pathogen transmission related to flexible endoscopes yielded 10 documents citing infections from 2008 to 2015. A total of 353 patients were identified as having been infected with a contaminated gastroscope, bronchoscope, or duodenoscope. An evaluation of reprocessing technology identified 3 automated endoscope reprocessors with enhanced capabilities and flushing devices intended to automate portions of the manual cleaning step.

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Cathleen Shellnutt, MSN, APRN, AGCNS-BC, CGRN, is Complex GI Advanced Practice Nurse, The Medical Center of Plano, Texas.

Correspondence to: Cathleen Shellnutt, MSN, APRN, AGCNS-BC, CGRN, The Medical Center of Plano, 3901 W. 15th Street, Plano, TX 75075 (

The author declares no conflicts of interest.

Supplemental digital content is available for this article. Direct URL citations appear in the printed text and are provided in the HTML and PDF versions of this article on the journal's website (

Received September 09, 2015

Accepted May 21, 2016

© 2016 by the Society of Gastroenterology Nurses and Associates, Inc.