Automated Endoscope Reprocessors (AERs) are used by hospitals to quickly clean and disinfect endoscopes. A typical AER is about the size of a clothes dryer. The machines are filled before use with high level disinfectants. Some have reservoirs which hold several gallons of high-level disinfectant, enabling up to one month of re-use. High-level disinfectants used in AERs are often heated to enhance efficacy. Most AERs can be programmed to specific temperature and cycle times to enable use with a variety of different high-level disinfectants.
Microchem recently acquired a Medivators series DSD-201 Automated Endoscope Reprocessor (AER), which enables the lab to conduct a broad range of studies related to automated endoscope cleaning and disinfection, including simuluated use tests. For a typical simulated use study, an endoscope is inoculated with microorganisms, placed in the AER, then treated with “worst case” high-level disinfectant (disinfectant that has been stressed and/or diluted). Before the sterile water rinse portion of the machine’s cycle is initiated, a Microchem scientist aseptically intercepts the endoscope, neutralizes the active ingredient and checks for surviving microorganisms using an exhaustive rinse and plating procedure.