What is an AER (Automated Endoscrope Reprocessor)


So what is an AER? It's a fair question as it's a mouthful to say. The short answer is an AER (Automated Endoscope Reprocessor) is used to reprocess endoscopes. But that's just turning words around and not really a good explanation. So let's first go over what "endoscopy" is so we get some context and a better understanding of the machines we're talking about.

Endoscopy is a non-surgical procedure that allows doctors to examine and view the digestive system on a color monitor. The endoscope used for this procedure is a flexible tube that utilizes a small light and camera allowing doctors to view and take pictures of the digestive tract as the endoscopic procedure is done. It can be used through the mouth performing an upper endoscopy and through the rectum to examine the large intestine. This procedure is called a sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy. Endoscopy may also be used to pass devices through that can biopsy, detect and stop bleeding ulcers and remove polyps among other procedures.

As you can imagine these instruments are very expensive and because the flexible tube comes into contact with bodily fluids and tissue it must be decontaminated each time it is used limiting the risk of infections being passed between patients. The word "Reprocessor" or "Reprocess" is a transitive verb that indicates the equipment is being subjected to a special process or treatment in preparation for reuse of the endoscope equipment.

AERs are also designed to kill microorganisms that may remain on, or in the endoscopy interior channels after their use in procedures. The FDA has determined they are Class II devices cleared through the premarket notification.

Companies like Cantel / Medivators, J&J ASP, Olympus, Custom Ultrasonics and Steris all sell different types of AERs. Some come as a table top versions and some as free standing and rolling floor models. Others offer a dual basin model capable of reprocessing multiple endoscopes increasing the number of patients an office is able to see.

Hope this gives you a better idea of what an AER is and what it's used for.
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