So how does it work, exactly? The AquaTYPHOON uses proprietary technology developed by manufacturer PlasmaBiotics, a controlling share of which was acquired by PENTAX Medical, which now owns the intellectual property for the technology. Without giving too much away, Huber explains that the AquaTYPHOON uses only water and air. There is no heat or detergent. “Think of a typhoon,” he says. “The water, is accelerated by a turbulent flow. Into this very fast wind water droplets are inserted, where they are accelerated to a super high speed. This creates a shear stress which rubs off contaminants from the endoscope. It simulates the effect of a physical brush, but it’s only using air and water.”
Asked about research carried out to show the cleaning efficacy of the AquaTYPHOON compared to manual pre-cleaning of endoscopes, Huber says that advanced research is still ongoing. “However, before introducing the product to the market, we wanted to have the confirmation that this automated pre-cleaning process is an improvement on the manual pre-cleaning process. We compared the AquaTYPHOON to the classical brush and detergent cleaning to understand the difference. We did microbial testing and looked at the residual protein on the endoscope following cleaning to show equivalency and superiority over manual pre-cleaning.”
Interestingly, Huber adds that they have had a lot of interest from their clinical partners around the world who have approached them to do studies to show the AquaTYPHOON’s effectiveness in their facilities – to show how it compares to the manual, traditional cleaning, and how they actually benefit from using such a system over traditional brush cleaning. The results of these studies are still forthcoming.
Compatibility with different endoscopes
The AquaTYPHOON is compatible with a wide variety of endoscopes from different manufacturers. “We have validated this for all the main models of all major manufacturers of reusable endoscopes. But we still advise our clinical partners or customers who are interested in the AquaTYPHOON to get in contact with a local PENTAX Medical rep to confirm if it is compatible with their endoscopes,” Huber says.
Asked about how long it typically takes to pre-clean an endoscope with the AquaTYPHOON, Huber explains that as there are many different types of endoscopes and that they verified typical cleaning cycle times for these different endoscopes. “The most complex of the endoscopes is the so-called EUS or endoscopic ultrasound endoscope. It has a small ultrasound sensor on the tip of the endoscope, where you can have a normal camera image, but at the same time, an ultrasound image. This is a complex endoscope, because it has this additional sensor and additional mechanical features, to angulate accessories like a needle during ultrasound image acquisition, for example. This is the most complex endoscope and for this we established a cycle of seven minutes. So this is the longest cycle.” “Then we have the typical GI scopes, like you have for colonoscopy or gastro procedures. For these we established a five-minute cycle. And then we have small calibre scopes, like bronchoscopes for the lungs. We established a two-minute cycle for these scopes. The guidelines usually recommend around 20 minutes for the manual clean, so this is a significant time-saving,” he emphasises.
Endoscope cleaning protocols
Discussing established endoscope cleaning protocols, Huber points out that they have had to follow these protocols, because this is what the market demands. “Typically, hospitals have a checklist and they check box each of the cleaning steps, and when complete they sign a protocol. What we did for AquaTYPHOON – at the end of the cycle, when everything went well – it issues a traceability label which can be printed out and attached to the specific endoscope that has been cleaned. So you can make sure when you scan it later on with the barcode scanner, or with the QR code scanner, you can see that this scope has been cleaned according to the appropriate cycle.
“Also, it provides electronic traceability, which can be uploaded to the hospital database, so at any point in time you can check the condition of each scope,” he adds.