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Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology
Volume 15, Issue 5, Pages 321-331

The Clinical Risks of Infection Associated with Endoscopy

Alistair E Cowen

Department of Gastroenterology, Royal Brisbane Hospital, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Received 15 July 1999; Accepted 19 July 1999

Copyright © 2001 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The cleaning of flexible endoscopes is difficult and time consuming. Any method of attempted sterilization or high level disinfection will fail if prior cleaning has been defective. Inadequate reprocessing of endoscopes may result in patient to patient transmission of serious bacterial and viral diseases or infection with endemic hospital pathogens. Antibiotic prophylaxis is required to prevent septicemia and bacterial endocarditis in high risk patients undergoing specific endoscopic procedures. Prevention of serious endoscopy-associated clinical infections requires strict compliance with detailed reprocessing protocols by specially trained nursing staff.