Endoscope Sampling and Culturing Methods

While contaminated endoscopes do not necessarily lead to infection, literature has established a link between the use of a contaminated endoscope and MDRO (multi-drug resistant organism) outbreaks. Therefore, rendering contamination pertinent to monitor, ideally through microbial surveillance. Particularly under scrutiny are patient-ready flexible endoscopes, having revealed a confusingly large range of contamination in publications, from 0.4% to 49%. These discrepancies make comparisons and interpretations challenging due to significant differences in sampling and culturing methods, contamination target levels, and definitions of indicator microorganisms across various studies.

The study by L. Pineau, C. Radix (Eurofins Biotech Germande, France), and M. Alfa (AlfaMed Consulting Inc.) seeks to compare the efficacy of six duodenoscope sampling and culturing methods. It focuses on evaluating extraction efficacy and identifying key parameters that optimize microbial recovery. The extraction efficacy of each method was assessed using the repetitive recovery method described in ISO 11737–1:2018.

The overall bioburden extraction efficacy ranged from 1% for the Australian method to 39% for the French method. Lower extraction efficacy was observed when no neutralizer, friction, or tensioactive agent was used, and when only a small portion of the sampling solution was inoculated onto culture media. The efficacy of the methods also varied with the type of microorganisms present in the endoscope and the time elapsed between sampling and culturing.

Read more about the results and key findings to gain further insights into the need for a harmonized and standardized sampling and culturing method for flexible endoscopes.

Sampling and Culturing Methods