Medical Vacuum in an Endoscopy Soiled Work Room

  • Wednesday, December 21, 2022 9:56 AM
    Message # 13032170

    Looking for some feedback here form the group.  I have an engineer that that just proposed added a set of medical vacuum inlets into a Endoscopy Soiled Work Room.  

    In my experience NFPA 99 is pretty clear that medical vacuum is not intended for use for this type of room.  

    When I provided the following references to the design team and owner they responded they had a separate machine for scope cleaning and used the medical vacuum for testing of the clean scopes.  Thoughts?

    The medical surgical vacuum and WAGD systems shall not be used for non-medical applications (i.e., vacuum steam condensate return.)

    A. Other examples of prohibited use of medical–

    surgical vacuum would be scope cleaning, decontamination,

    and laser plume.

  • Wednesday, December 21, 2022 11:21 AM
    Reply # 13032299 on 13032170

    Here is my opinion based upon my experience assisting with Bronchoscopy procedures in the past.

    The Bronchoscope had, at one time, a port or channel specific for the vacuum system to attach to clear mucus and other fluids from the area the physician is attempting to view and perform a procedure in the patient's lungs.

    In my opinion the lack of vacuum in the scope clean room to connect to TEST the cleaned scope prior to sending it back to being used on the next patient does not appear to be a wise position to take. It has been common for those who perform the scope cleaning and cold sterilization to test the scopes prior to packaging for use.

    Additionally, the cold sterilant used for scope cleaning is an irritant to tracheal tissues and requires cleaning from the scope vacuum channel best performed by application of vacuum to the channel and caught in a vacuum bottle on the wall.

    I think the annex advice is well intentioned but is not available to us to enforce a restriction on the placement of vacuum in the scope cleaning area. Decontamination is a different scenario from the scope cleaning area.

    Please share your thoughts and concerns. This topic really sucks!

  • Thursday, December 22, 2022 7:07 AM
    Reply # 13033129 on 13032170
    Al Moon (Administrator)




  • Thursday, December 22, 2022 9:52 AM
    Reply # 13033261 on 13032170
    Cary Darden (Administrator)

    Carsten, thanks for that write up explaining the scope cleaning process.  That has always been a bit of a black box for me and having someone explain what the vacuum is being used for is very helpful.  It sounds like they are still going to be evacuating liquid as part of this process.  The issue we have most often found is that the staff is not using canister traps as part of their process and as a result they are sucking large amounts of liquid into the system, which is also a violation of NFPA 99 (  We have seen the GI / Endo areas ruin several area alarm transducers as a result of these practices.  In many cases, engineering opts to put in a smaller vacuum pump (like a Gast pump) to meet the needs of the staff.

    Writing up med air & vacuum outlets within scope cleaning rooms has become a very common finding for hospitals.  It seems that a small Gast pump (or similar) located in or near the scope cleaning room can meet the staff needs while not compromising the medical vacuum system.

  • Thursday, December 22, 2022 9:54 AM
    Reply # 13033263 on 13032170
    Cary Darden (Administrator)


    I suppose if a facility were to run the vacuum line from the scope cleaning room all the way back to the central supply system receiver, and install the necessary liquid traps then it would work.  This seems like a very expensive option in most instances unless it is a very small facility.  

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