• High-level disinfection;
  • flexible endoscope;
  • endoscope disinfection;
  • nasopharyngoscope disinfection;
  • Level of Evidence: 4.



Guidelines issued by the Association of Operating Room Nurses and the Association of Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology recommend high-level disinfection (HLD) for semicritical instruments, such as flexible endoscopes. We aim to examine the durability of endoscopes to continued use and automated HLD. We report the number of duty cycles a flexible endoscope can withstand before repairs should be anticipated.


Retrospective review.


A total of 4,336 endoscopic exams and subsequent disinfection cycles were performed with 60 flexible endoscopes in an outpatient tertiary pediatric otolaryngology practice from 2005 to 2009. All endoscopes were systemically cleaned with mechanical cleansing followed by leak testing, enzymatic cleaning, and exposure to Orthophthaldehyde (0.55%) for 5 minutes at a temperature of at least 25°C, followed by rinsing for 3 minutes. A total of 77 repairs were performed, 48 major (average cost $3,815.97), and 29 minor (average cost $326.85). On average, the 2.2-mm flexible endoscopes were utilized for 61.9 examinations before major repair was needed, whereas the 3.6 mm endoscopes were utilized for 154.5 exams before needing minor repairs. No major repairs have been needed to date on the 3.6-mm endoscopes.


Automated endoscope reprocessor use for HLD is an effective means to disinfect and process flexible endoscopes. This minimizes variability in the processing of the endoscopes and maximizes the rate of successful HLD. Even when utilizing standardized, automated HLD and limiting the number of personnel processing the endoscopes, smaller fiberoptic endoscopes demonstrate a shortened time interval between repairs than that seen with the larger endoscopes. Laryngoscope, 2010