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  1. Lacey, Valerie RN, BSN, CGRN
  2. Good, Karron RN, ADN, CGRN
  3. Toliver, Chris RN, ADN
  4. Jenkins, Shirley MT (ASCP)
  5. DeGuzman, Pamela B. PhD


Current research suggests that for certain types of gastrointestinal endoscopes, longer shelf life (the interval of storage after which endoscopes should be reprocessed before their reuse) may not increase the likelihood of endoscope contamination. Scope contamination may, in fact, be related primarily to either inadequate disinfection processes or inadvertent contamination during storage, not to duration of storage. The purpose of this study evaluated the presence of bacteria and fungus following liquid chemical sterilization in colonoscopes and gastroscopes, after 12 weeks of shelf life during which time personal protective equipment was used during endoscope storage cabinet access. We stored four colonoscopes and two gastroscopes in a cabinet for 12 weeks after liquid chemical sterilization and the cabinet was only accessed during the 12-week period wearing personal protective equipment (gown and gloves). Scopes were tested for bacteria and fungus at the end of 12 weeks. No bacteria or fungus grew on any of the scopes. This study provides further support that contaminated endoscopes may be related to either inadequate disinfection or contamination during storage, not shelf life.