9 Simple Steps To A Disinfected Veterinary Endoscope

On the regular we are asked “What’s The Best Way To Disinfect A Scope” or my favorite “No one has ever shown us how to disinfect our scopes, can you help?” The short answer is, YES, we can help. Even if you didn’t buy your scopes from us. The following 9 steps are the basic methods of disinfecting a veterinary endoscope. As always, refer to your owners manual for your scope to get specific instructions and for information on which high level disinfectant is compatible with your endoscopes.

What You WIll Need:
– Basin — Standard Plastic Rubbermaid Tub from Wal-Mart is sufficient
– Enzymatic Cleaner – Buy Some Now: https://endoscopes.vet/shop/endozyme-aw-triple-action-plus/
– Scope Sponge – Buy One Today: https://endoscopes.vet/shop/ruhof-endozyme-sponge/
– Cleaning Brush – Here: https://endoscopes.vet/shop/ruhof-scopevalet-pull-through-cleaning-brush/
– HIgh-Level Disinfectant – Every Manufacturer Has Approved – Rapicide, Cidex OPA, and Revitalox (EndoPA is also approved by several manufacturers)
– 60cc Syringe
– Rubbing Alcohol

– Lint Free Towel For Drying Before Storage

Step 1 – The Leak Test
Your endoscope should have included a manual leak tester, you will connect that to the appropriate port on the scope. In most cases it’s on the umbilicus using the ETO valve. Should just have to press and turn the cap to secure on the scope. IMPORTANT NOTE, do not fully submerge the umbilicus in any fluid while the leak tester is attached. The scope itself can be submerged, but the plug, where your leak tester is attached, is not air tight with the leak tester on the scope. 

olympus leak tester manual

The connection of the leak tester to the endoscope will vary by manufacturer. Please consult the owners manual for your scope to learn the exact place where you should connect a leakage tester. Regardless, this step is a MUST after EVERY PROCEDURE. 

pentax leak tester

Step 2 – Pre-Cleaning w/ Enzymatic Detergent

The enzymatic detergent is a simple use product, its formulated to remove proteins and mucosa left behind after a case. This step is NOT disinfection and should not be used as a disinfection step. This is merely to prepare the scope for full disinfection using High-Level Disinfectants. This is the step which will utilize the scope sponge.

endozyme™ aw triple action plus

Step 3 – Scrubbing and Purge One

You will clean the outside of the scope with the sponge, making sure you scrub in the control wheels as best you can. Flush the scope from the suction nipple on the umbilicus using the 60cc Syringe with luer lock. Place the rubber biopsy port and suction button in their respective places. Push a syringe full of detergent water through the scope, followed by two 60cc syringes of air. 

endozyme sponge

Step 4 – Brushing

Utilizing a cleaning brush, you pass the brush through the scope from the suction nipple on the umbilicus and then again down the biopsy channel. For cases with heavy debris, like a poor equine prep, pass the long brush twice through the biopsy channel. 

ruhof™ scopevalet™ pull through cleaning brush
ruhof™ scopevalet™ pull through cleaning brush

Step 5 – Big Brushing

Use the big brush to scrub out your air/water and suction ports on the control body. Followed by inserting the brush into the suction nipple. 

ruhof™ scopevalet™ two sided cleaning brush
ruhof™ scopevalet™ olympus buttons and biopsy port

Step 6 – High-Level Disinfectant Soak
Place the endoscope in the disinfection basin for the time listed on your high-level disinfectant bottle label. For products like Rapicide and Cidex OPA, at room temperature the scope should soak for about 20 minutes.

scope soak

Step 7 – Rinse Exterior
Remove the endoscope from the disinfection basin and place back in sink. Run clean rinse water over the exterior surfaces of the scope. 

Step 8 – Purge Two
Use 60cc Syringe to flush the suction nipple with clean rinse water as well, ensure the suction button and biopsy port are in place when you do this as this will push rinse water into the suction/biopsy channels throughout the entire endoscope. Follow with two 60cc pushes of room air to clear out channels. 

60cc syringe

Step 9 – The Final Purge
Use 60cc Syringe to flush the suction nipple with rubbing alcohol followed by two 60cc pushes of room air. YES, alcohol is perfectly safe to use on a flexible endoscope. All major manufacturers recommend flushing the interior channels of the scope with alcohol as a final reprocessing step. This will ensure proper drying in the channels and encourage evaporation of any moisture left behind during the disinfection process. 

alcohol purge

Follow these steps and you can reduce your risk of damage by a significant margin. Most endoscope repairs are due to mishandling during disinfection. Proper leak testing procedures are an absolute must if you want to protect your scope from major damage, this process should be completed between every case — at a bare minimum. 

Find the accessories mentioned in the post inside the Veterinary Endoscopy Store.

For the ultimate standardized procedure, using an automated endoscope reprocessor is the next step. These machines will clean multiple scopes at the same time, if needed – there are also models for single scope disinfection, and will provide consistent exposure to the proper chemicals and the proper times for disinfection. The only manual part is the leak test and passing the brushes, otherwise, the machine does the work for you — even the alcohol purge. Talk to us if you’re interested in automating your disinfection process.

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advantage front 1 (1)

Finally, if these steps aren’t enough, take a look at our very low budget film on these steps, one-by-one. ENJOY!

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