By Marc Esquenet
Endoscopy encompasses a wide range of procedures that require very specific types of scopes. More than 30 unique scopes are needed for these procedures, which means the instructions for reprocessing are very different and can make the cleaning process confusing, time consuming and cumbersome.
For the purpose of this article we will focus on the area of enzymatic detergents and attempt to eliminate any associated concerns. First, we will discuss the importance of using an enzymatic detergent in the scope cleaning process. Second, we will discuss how specific types of soils have recently emerged as “next to impossible to remove," and how new enzymatic detergent technologies and validation studies have been developed to confront this specific challenge to cleaning endoscopes.
Most importantly, we will help endoscopy professionals ask the right questions when selecting an enzymatic detergent to use in their department.
Let’s start with identifying what has made enzymatic detergents the unique and superior cleaners that they are in the area of endoscopy reprocessing. In order to prepare endoscopes for reuse, they must be cleaned and then exposed to a high-level disinfectant. The cleaning part of the preparation process requires the use of a detergent that has neutral pH, is well balanced, and is able to digest combined protein-fat-carbohydrate soils.
Enzymatic cleaners, (multi-tiered) in particular, are extremely effective in removing soil and organic matter. Enzymatic detergents are generally near-neutral pH and are not corrosive to endoscopes. Additional ingredients in enzymatic detergents include solubilizing agents, soil suspending agents, and surfactants with good wetting properties, chosen to enhance enzymatic action and contribute to the product’s effectiveness.