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Am J Infect Control. 2016 Jul 1;44(7):815-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ajic.2016.01.017. Epub 2016 Mar 4.

Practical toolkit for monitoring endoscope reprocessing effectiveness: Identification of viable bacteria on gastroscopes, colonoscopes, and bronchoscopes.

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Ofstead & Associates, Inc, St Paul, MN.
Department of Infection Prevention, University of Minnesota Health, Minneapolis, MN.
Department of Clinical Quality Improvement, University of Minnesota Health, Minneapolis, MN.
Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Medicine, University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis, MN.



Experts have recommended microbiologic surveillance by external reference laboratories for certain flexible endoscopes. There is currently insufficient evidence on the feasibility and utility of cultures. Researchers evaluated a preassembled toolkit for collecting and processing samples from endoscopes.


A pilot study was performed in a large academic medical center. A toolkit was used to aseptically sample biopsy ports and suction/biopsy channels of 5 gastroscopes, 5 colonoscopes, and 5 bronchoscopes after full reprocessing. Blinded specimens were packaged and transported on icepacks to a reference laboratory that used standard methodologies for microbial cultures.


The laboratory detected bacteria in samples from 60% of patient-ready endoscopes, including gram-positive and gram-negative species. Viable microbes (<10 CFU) were recovered from 2 gastroscopes, 3 colonoscopes, and 4 bronchoscopes. Stenotrophomonas maltophilia and Delftia acidovorans were recovered from all 3 endoscope types. Subsequent environmental testing detected S maltophilia in the reprocessing rinse water.


A preassembled toolkit facilitated the aseptic collection of samples for culturing by a reference laboratory that detected viable microbes on fully reprocessed endoscopes. Speciation allowed identification of potential pathogens and a possible common contamination source, demonstrating that microbial cultures may have value even when colony counts are low.


High-level disinfection; Microbial cultures; Stenotrophomonas maltophilia

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