Upping the ante against infection risk in endoscopy

A consensus statement from GESA, Gastroenterological Nurses College of Australia (GENCA), Australasian College for Infection Prevention and Control (ACIPC) and Australasian Society for Infectious Disease (ASID) recommends all endoscopic equipment is stored in TGA-approved forced-air drying cabinets.

Expert committee co-chair Associate Professor Benedict Deveraux told the limbic the standards of infection control in endoscopy in Australia have been extremely high.

“We have not had any significant problems with endoscopy-related transmission of organisms in this country. Many of the recommendations in these statements are consistent with practices already being undertaken in many units.”

Although the risk of endoscopy-associated infection was an extremely low 1 in 1.8 million, evidence regarding the potential formation of biofilm on the channels of endoscopes warranted the step-up in practice.

“We feel, clearly, the costs and efforts require to implement the guidelines, in particular the forced-air cabinets, is a low price to pay to mitigate the risk to patients, endoscopy units and the profession. They are considered, decisive and preventive actions. ”

Associate Professor Deveraux said endoscopy units should start to implement the recommendations immediately.

“There is a timeline for the introduction of the drying cabinets and that is by January 1, 2022 which coincides with the date for compliance with Australian Standard 4187 for reprocessing of re-useable medical devices.”

“We felt it reasonable given the capital expenditure and the effort that is required, to give people a lead-in.”

The statement also calls for disclosure about the specific risk of CPE during informed consent.

“The informed consent process has been an axiom of good endoscopic and all medical intervention forever – and each individual practitioner and unit attends to that. Our point is that, given the potential risk that we have seen overseas for this particular organism, we want to augment that consent process to specifically address the risk of transmission of superbugs.”

Associate Professor Deveraux said the consensus statement supports broader recommendations from the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (ACSQHC) for the control of CPE in acute care facilities.

You can watch a YouTube presentation on the finer details of the consensus statement here. 

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