What Happens if an Endoscope Fails a Leak Test? - Smart Tech Med

What Happens if an Endoscope Fails a Leak Test?

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Flexible endoscopes are fundamental instruments in modern medicine, which allow the effective diagnosis and treatment of many different medical conditions. The reliability of these instruments depends on a critical process: leak testing. The following article will explore what leak testing is, how an endoscope fails this test, and the reprocessing of leaking flexible endoscopes.

Why Leak Testing Is Important

Leak testing serves as a critical defense against identifying any breaches between inside and outside protective surfaces for flexible endoscopes. These protective surfaces serve as the first line of defense not only for the patient but also for the piece of equipment itself. A small hole or crack ruins its functionality and could put patients at serious risk.

  • Cross-Contamination Risk: The main threat when an endoscope fails a leak test is that it risks cross-contamination. Any breach in its protective layers allows fluids to invade, carrying the potential microorganisms capable of severe threats to patient safety.
  • Unsuitable to Use: A failed leak test makes an endoscope no longer suitable for medical procedures to use in patients. Thus, a compromised endoscope may risk patient health and lead to adverse outcomes.

What to Do When an Endoscope Fails a Leak Test

When a flexible endoscope fails a leak test, several crucial steps must be followed for the safety of patients and the integrity of equipment.

  • Contact Repair Vendor: The first action is to contact your local repair vendor. They will give the appropriate instructions on returning the damaged scope. It’s important to work with credible vendors like Smarttechmed Surgical Equipment Repair Services, which offers surgical equipment repair services.
  • Pre-Repair Cleaning and Disinfection: Before sending it for repair, it needs to undergo thorough cleaning as well as high-level disinfection or sterilization. It’s vital in preventing more contamination during transportation and while under repair.
  • Use of Appropriate Disinfectant: Ensure that the endoscope is wiped with an acceptable surface disinfectant according to the manufacturer’s recommendation
  • Cleaning Verification: Before proceeding to the repair process, it should be verified that the cleaning and high-level disinfection or sterilization are done in the best possible way. This step will verify if there is any harmful microorganism inside the endoscope.

Reprocessing of Leaking Flexible Endoscopes

Leaking endoscopes need extra attention and care during reprocessing and repairing them so as not to cause additional damage.

Positive Pressure: A positive pressure shall be maintained during a cycle by connecting an endoscope to a maintenance unit or light source, preventing contamination.

Find and Note Leaks: Any leaks should be found and noted as the endoscope is submerged in water. This stage is critical to identify the location of the breach.

Repairing Covering Leaks: For covering leaks, the maintenance unit must be turned OFF for leaks in the bending section, universal cord, or insertion tube. The leakage tester has to be removed. Then, dry up and cover the leak’s location with electrical tape before submerging it into a detergent solution.

Other Leak Locations: Different instructions can apply depending on which part of the endoscope has been damaged in other locations where leaks are detected. Seek proper guidance from the manufacturer’s guidelines.

Minimize Flexion: Cleaning manually involves minimizing unnecessary flexion when cleaning to minimize more damage. This helps reduce further wear.

High-Level Disinfection or Sterilization for Leaking Endoscopes

After manual cleaning, high-level disinfection or sterilization is required to ensure that claims about its safety can be substantiated.

  • Preferred Method For Sterilization: The preferred method for sterilizing leaking endoscopes is the Ethylene oxide sterilization following the instructions outlined in the reprocessing manual.
  • Other Alternative Methods: In case of ethylene oxide sterilization cannot be achieved, the other alternative methods include high-level disinfection or STERRAD sterilization.
  • Preparation: Essential prerequisites before sterilization or high-level disinfection are adequate endoscope preparation by cleaning and drying it well.
  • Visual Identification: To quickly identify scopes that need repair, use colored tape to help in identification purposes.

Automated High-Level Disinfection

High-Level Automated Endoscopes Reprocessors (AERs) are widely used for reprocessing endoscopes but cannot handle leaking endoscopes as they can further damage them. However, some AERs can maintain positive pressure and be used cautiously regarding this purpose. Always follow specific guidelines given by the manufacturer and repair vendor when dealing with leak testing and reprocessing of flexible endoscopes for patient safety and ensuring a long life cycle of your equipment.

The Bottom Line

To conclude, leak testing is crucial for the safety and efficiency of flexible endoscopes. If an endoscope has failed a leak test, it should be sent for repair immediately after cleaning and disinfecting properly. Reprocessing leaking endoscopes needs careful consideration and conformity to manufacturer guidelines. Through this means, healthcare facilities can protect their clients as well as preserve their essential medical equipment.

In Our Website, Find The Endoscope Repair Parts You Need, 100% Original Compatible.We manufacture a wide range of endoscope accessories such as:

Light Guide Bundles

Insertion Tube

Bending Rubber

Air/water Channel

Bending Sections

Biopsy Channel

Bending Section Mesh

Coil Pipe Assembly

Coil Pipe Stopper

Angulation Wire


Light Guide Tube


If you need to purchase endoscope spare parts, you can contact Smart Tech Med for more details.

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