How long can endoscopes be stored after reprocessing?

Reprocessed endoscopes can be safely stored for as long as 21 days after reprocessing, according to a study published in Gastrointestinal Endoscopy.

Researchers tested culture results from the channels of four duodenoscopes, four colonoscopes and two gastroscopes at various points in time after reprocessing: the same day, one week later, two weeks later and three weeks later.

They found 33 positive cultures from 28 of the 96 sites tested, but 29 of those were clinically insignificant. Four potential pathogens were cultured; however, they were also likely clinically insignificant since they were recovered at one time point at one site and were in low concentrations.

"Endoscopes can be stored for as long as 21 days after standard reprocessing with a low risk of pathogenic microbial colonization," the study authors concluded. "Extension of reprocessing protocols to 21 days could affect significant cost savings."

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