Background: It has been recommended that bronchoscopists familiarize themselves with national recommendations for bronchoscope reprocessing practices, but the extent of guideline awareness is unclear.
Methods: We distributed a survey to practicing bronchoscopists at two meetings. Questions addressed infection control issues related to bronchoscopy and specific reprocessing recommendations.
Results: A total of 46 surveys were completed by medical directors of bronchoscopy suites (26%) and attending bronchoscopists (74%) who had graduated from medical school a median of 22 years ago and performed a median of 19 procedures per month. Sixty-five percent of respondents, including 55% of directors, were not familiar with national reprocessing recommendations, and 39% did not know the approach to reprocessing at their own institution. Respondents who did > 20 procedures per month trended toward being more likely to be aware of guidelines (54% vs 26%, p = 0.09) and were less likely to answer “do not know” to more than one question about specific reprocessing details (25% vs 70%, p = 0.003). Seventy-eight percent of respondents did not know local practices for at least one of the reprocessing details. Forty-six percent of respondents stated their institutions followed recommendations that records be kept of the specific bronchoscope used in each case.
Conclusions: Many experienced bronchoscopists are unfamiliar with national guidelines and local practices related to bronchoscope reprocessing. Publication of bronchoscope-specific, comprehensive reprocessing guidelines in the pulmonary literature may help increase familiarity with this crucial process.