With the increasing use of endoscopes, the risk of infections linked to reprocessing is also increasing. When endoscopes are used on multiple patients, they become contaminated with microorganisms. In order to avoid such risk of infection, endoscopes undergo a detailed and automated multistep process to clean or sterilize them, known as reprocessing. Special care must also be taken while reprocessing endoscopes as inadequate reprocessing can result in adverse patient outcomes, such as tissue irritation from residual reprocessing materials (chemical disinfectants). It is also important that the endoscope be designed in such a way so that it can be adequately reprocessed. Ideally, both the manufacture and the user of the endoscope have roles to play in ensuring the safe and effective reprocessing of the device. Manufacturers should provide adequate labeling which must include instructions for reprocessing endoscopes safely while the user should be able to follow these instructions. Reprocessing of endoscopes involves three steps:
- Initial cleaning and measures to prevent contamination on the device
- Device is thoroughly cleaned in a dedicated cleaning area
- The device is disinfected or sterilized and finally put back into use
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Endoscopes which come into contact with mucosal surfaces should be used with invasive devices such as biopsy forceps. Various reprocessing technologies used for sterilization are hydrogen peroxide gas plasma sterilization, ozone sterilization, and ethylene oxide sterilization. For the determination of adequacy of a particular cleaning process, endoscopes are analyzed through a series of assays to determine amounts of protein, carbohydrate and other biomarkers.
Based on reprocessor equipment, the automated endoscope reprocessor market can be segmented as follows:
- Cleaning area unit
- Wash monitoring
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Based on geography, the automated endoscope reprocessor market can be segmented into four major regions: North America, Europe, Asia Pacific and Rest of the World (RoW). Out of these regions, North America dominates the market followed by Europe. The prime factors which are responsible for the growth of automated endoscope reprocessor market are increasing awareness of healthcare providers as well as patients regarding the spread of hospital-acquired infectious diseases. The AAMI TIR 12:2010 of Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation guidance document discusses the risk associated with medical equipment surfaces. It states that these devices “can contribute to secondary cross-contamination by the hands of healthcare providers or by contact with medical instruments that will subsequently come into contact with patients. Furthermore, Asia Pacific is growing at a great pace and is considered to be one of the most promising regions for the growth of automated endoscope reprocessor market. The advantageous factors which would augment the growth of the market in Asia Pacific are rapidly developing healthcare infrastructures in various developing regions, and increasing government funds to support the growing medical devices industry. Furthermore, increasing incidences of various associated diseases due to medical device contamination would also propel the growth of automated endoscope reprocessor market in the coming future.
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