FDA updates reprocessing recommendations for bronchoscopes

Sterilization is preferred over high-level disinfection when reprocessing bronchoscopes, the FDA said June 25. 

The method should be used whenever feasible "because sterilization has a greater safety margin than high-level disinfection," the FDA said. The recommended steps for reprocessing bronchoscopes are precleaning, leak testing, cleaning and sterilization. 

If sterilization is not possible, the recommended high-level disinfection steps are "precleaning, leak testing, cleaning, high-level disinfection, rinsing with tap or utility water followed by alcohol flushing or with critical (filtered or sterile) water, and drying."

The FDA also reminded healthcare facilities and staff to only use manufacturer-specified supplies when reprocessing bronchoscopes and their accessories. 

Providers should also consider using single-use bronchoscopes in situations where there is increased risk of spreading infection, or when there is no need for immediate reprocessing. 

To view the full update, click here.

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