BACKGROUND AND STUDY AIMS: Bacterial contamination of endoscopy suites is of concern; however studies evaluating bacterial aerosols are lacking. We aimed to determine the effectiveness of air suctioning during removal of biopsy forceps in reducing bacterial air contamination.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: This was a prospective single-blinded trial involving 50 patients who were undergoing elective nontherapeutic colonoscopy. During colonoscopy, endoscopists removed the biopsy forceps first without and then with suctioning following contact with the sigmoid mucosa. A total of 50 L of air was collected continuously for 30 seconds at 30-cm distance from the biopsy channel valve of the colonoscope, with time starting at forceps removal. Airborne bacteria were collected by an impactor air sampler (MAS-100). Standard Petri dishes with CNA blood agar were used to culture Gram-positive bacteria. Main outcome measure was the bacterial load in endoscopy room air.
RESULTS: At the beginning and end of the daily colonoscopy program, the median (and interquartile [IQR] range) bioaerosol burden was 4 colony forming units (CFU)/m (3) (IQR 3 - 6) and 16 CFU/m (3) (IQR 13 - 18), respectively. Air suctioning during removal of the biopsy forceps reduced the bioaerosol burden from a median of 14 CFU/m (3) (IQR 11 - 29) to a median of 7 CFU/m (3) (IQR 4 - 16) ( P = 0.0001). Predominantly enterococci were identified on the agar plates.
CONCLUSION: The bacterial aerosol burden during handling of biopsy forceps can be reduced by applying air suction while removing the forceps. This simple method may reduce transmission of infectious agents during gastrointestinal endoscopies.