Flexible nasoendoscope is an important tool in otorhinolaryngology practice. The endoscope needs to be decontaminated prior to use in the next patient. The 2005 ENT-UK guidance for cleaning fibre-optic laryngoscopes stated that the ideal disinfecting agent and process should be effective and have low capital and maintenance costs.
To compare the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of chlorine dioxide wipes versus automated washer, for decontamination of flexible nasendoscopes.
A sequential cohort, in vitro study was performed to test the efficacy of chlorine dioxide wipes and automated washer. Costs were also calculated.
After deliberate bacterial contamination of the nasendoscope and subsequent decontamination, swab samples from the endoscope showed Staphylococcus epidermidis growth in 2 per cent (1/50 swabs) of the chlorine dioxide wipe group and in 28 per cent (14/50 swabs) of the automated washer group (p = 0.00). Based on a projected 10-year cost calculation, the automated washer was cheaper.
Further studies are required to test whether these results are replicable. A similar study should be performed using real patients, to check the significance of improper decontamination.
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