Could you imagine what would happen if while you were sleeping, smoke was filling up your house, but the smoke alarm wasn’t going off? You’d be in quite a dangerous predicament. For this reason, it’s suggested that you test your smoke detector to ensure it’s working. I mean, what’s the point of a smoke detector that doesn’t detect smoke? Or a carbon monoxide detector that doesn’t detect carbon monoxide?
This same concept can be applied to leak testing endoscopes. Leak testing is an important step in reprocessing to make sure endoscopes don’t have leaks. There are big consequences to using a damaged endoscope; in 2012, a deadly illness spread in hospitals in Seattle, Pittsburgh and Chicago, caused by the antibiotic-resistant bacteria, CRE. This bacterium kills 40% of the people it infects. In each hospital, the investigators found the same source of transmission: duodenoscopes (read the story here). According to the AORN Guideline for Processing Flexible Endoscopes, leak testing “…reduces damage and repair costs and decreases the potential for patient injury or infection that might occur as a result of using an endoscope that is not completely sealed.”
How would someone know if a leak tester is working? Well, currently, sterile processing staff listen for air being pushed from the leak tester itself. The problem is, while also being a completely subjective test, someone could hear air being pushed from the leak tester, and the leak tester could still not be working. And what’s the point in leak testing if it’s not detecting endoscopes with leaks? It sort of defeats the purpose of leak testing, right?
That’s why we’ve released the Leak Tester Tester. The Leak Tester Tester checks the accuracy of air pressure coming from automated and handheld leak testers. It ensures a leak tester is working properly by testing the functionality of the pump and connector. This way, sterile processing personnel can feel confident that, when they’re leak testing, the leak tester will do its part in detecting leaks, the same way we feel confident sleeping, knowing that our smoke detectors will do their job to detect potential smoke. The Leak Tester Tester can be purchased in a pack of four or can be purchased separately, with the option of the Olympus automated leak tester, the Olympus handheld tester, the Pentax handheld tester and the Karl Storz handheld tester. They’re quick and easy to use; simply attach the desired Leak Tester Tester to your endoscope leak tester, turn it on or pressurize the bulb, and read the pressure on the gauge, which gives a quick and objective result of the amount of air being expelled from the leak testers.
Keep on testing those testers.