A broken endoscope is more than just an equipment failure. It can delay treatment for patients and create unhappy staff who lack appropriate tools and must work late, increasing overtime costs and decreasing revenue due to canceled procedures. In a recent webinar, two members of an Olympus service and repair team shared tips on preventing the most frequent and expensive types of endoscope damage and minimizing the effects on facilities, staff and patients.
“Roughly 85% of endoscope repairs are avoidable”, said Louis Mariani, an endoscope service expert at Olympus. The distal end is the most fragile part of the endoscope, accounting for nearly 45% of all endoscope damage. The distal end houses a protective cover, charge-couple device, camera, light guide lenses, and nozzle for air and water.
“Damage to any of these components can cause image issues, light issues, and even harbor patient debris”, Mr. Mariani said. “A broken lens cover or nozzle entering a patient can be a very serious concern, because patient debris can be lodged into a break or breach of material.” A lint-free cloth is key for cleaning endoscopes; gauze should never be used to wipe the distal end, which can potentially cause lint to enter the instrument, he said.
The main cause of damage to the distal end is impact, with the floor or peripheral equipment. “Impact can occur during transport, inspection or maintenance, and can have serious consequences,” said Eric Smith, an Olympus endoscope support specialist. The air/water nozzle has a small opening that flushes water and air over the objective lens, and this can be deformed or slightly serrated by impact.