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Troubleshooting common flexible endoscope problems

Air/water problems

The air and water nozzles are located at the distil tip of the flexible endoscope and come into contact with matter inside the cavity being examined. Pressing the air and /or water valves should clear matter from the tip of the scope and the air or water should then flow in a steady stream.

Problem and solutions for two common causes of air/water problems

Problem: A sticky valve
Solution: Removing, cleaning and lubricating the valve with the manufacturer recommended silicone oil

Problem: A loose or damage nozzle
Solution: A loose or damage setscrew. This problem should be repaired by a trained technician.

You can avoid damage to valves and nozzles by using only the manufacturer’s recommended cleaning device and recommended procedure on the endoscope parts. NEVER attempt to remove debris with a sharp object such as a needle.

Fluid invasion

Fluid invasion requires immediate identification and repair by a trained technician

Fluid invasion is the leading cause of endoscope damage. It occurs when water and other fluids enter dry parts of the flexible scope. Fluid may enter through holes, tears, cuts or as a result of improper cleaning.

It is highly recommended that a leak test be performed on flexible scopes after every procedure and before cleaning and disinfection. A strict routine of leak testing will protect the patient and the functionality of the scope.

Signs of fluid invasion include:

  • Image stains
  • Foggy images
  • Electrical malfunction

What to do it you detect a leak in the flexible endoscope

If a leak is detected, remove the endoscope from the testing water to prevent further damage. It is very important that the endoscope be immediately taken out of patient service until it is repaired by a qualified Canada Endoscope technician.

Angulation problems

If the flexible endoscope does not freely angulate to the degree specified by the manufacturer, do not force angulation, as this may cause damage or break the angulation wires.

Angulation problems can be caused by over-torquing the bending portion of the scope. Fluid invasion can also damage the angulation system.

If you detect excessive “play” in the angulation system, consult with your Canada Endoscope technician.

Biopsy channel damage

Biopsy channel damage is often the result of forcing biopsy forceps or cleaning brushes through the channel. Forceps and cleaning brushes should pass easily through the channel and should never require force.

Biopsy channel damage often is the of using damaged forceps and brushes. Accessories should be inspected regularly for burrs that can easily tear the biopsy channel. Check for burrs and nicks by rubbing a gloved hand over all surfaces of the accessory.

Another result of biopsy channel damage can be fluid invasion.

Biopsy damage is best repaired by a highly trained and qualified Canada Endoscope technician.

Bending rubber damage

A bending rubber can lead to fluid invasion and provide anenvironment for pathogens.

Ways the bending rubber of a flexibleendoscope is damaged

  • Passing the scope through an opening that is too tight, such as a mouth guard for a gastroscopy or the through the adaptor for the patient air exchange used in bronchoscopic procedures.
  • A patient bites the bending rubber
  • Accidental cutting or puncturing the bending rubber
  • Stretching the bending rubber by over-pressurizing the flexible endoscope during leak testing
  • Normal wear and tear
  • Cleaner and lubricants not formulated for use on a bending rubber

Whatever the cause, damage to the bending rubber requires service and replacement by a trained and qualified Canada Endoscope technician.

Suction channel damage

If the scope displays decreased or a lack of suction, remove and clean the suction valve and this will often alleviate the problem. If the suction is still diminished, the flexible endoscope should be repaired by a trained and qualified Canada Endoscope technician.

To avoid suction channel damage, do not kink the endoscope or wrap it into a tight radius. Suction channel can cause fluid invasion. Kinking and tightly wrapping the scope can also damage the fiber-optic bundles. Both fluid invasion and damage to the fiber-optic bundles should be repaired by a trained and qualified Canada Endoscope technician.

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