Physicians at multiple academic hospitals across the U.S. scored a single-use rhinolaryngoscope superior in setup and convenience and better overall than reusable competitors in a recent study.
The Ambu® aScope™ 4 RhinoLaryngo also was found to be comparable to the reusables in ergonomics and maneuverability and more cost effective, with no repairs or reprocessing needed. The study was published in Laryngoscope Investigative Otolaryngology in December 2020.
The residents who responded to the independent survey rated the Ambu device on a 5-point scale based on how much they agreed or disagreed with various statements about the device. Scopes were assessed for use in nasopharyngolaryngoscopy, which is used to diagnose voice disorders and head and neck cancers and to locate foreign bodies and evaluate the acute airway.
The device also has related therapeutic uses, such as vocal cord injections. Nasopharyngolaryngoscopes (NPLs) are used in both clinics and within hospitals for inpatient and emergency room consults. Given the frequent need for such endoscopes, convenience and ease of set up are vital to maintain operational efficiency.
The Ambu aScope 4 RhinoLaryngo is a disposable version of a NPL which connects to an Ambu monitor for viewing and capture of still and video images during the procedure.
An analysis performed at a single academic center as part of the study showed the Ambu device more cost effective at $171.82 per use vs. $238.17 for reusables, when based on a year of use. When evaluated over five years, the cost comparison was $170.36 per use for the single-use product vs. $197.88 for the reusable.
The otolaryngology department where the cost analysis was done performed 330 procedures between Oct. 1, 2018, and March 31, 2019, using reusables. The study’s authors extrapolated that data to roughly 660 procedures performed per year.
They factored in the cost of six reusable NPLs plus two light sources, a charger, the C-MAC monitor for viewing and the VIP Pole, which is the cart needed to transport the monitor. The cost of that equipment totaled $33,240.69.
Adding to the cost of the reusable scopes were the 28 repairs needed from October 2018 through September 2019 — $106,325 for the year studied.
Reprocessing reusable devices requires time and resources and can result in delays for cleaning or repairs. And reprocessing that fails to render scopes truly patient-ready has been linked to cross-contamination.
“Given the current COVID-19 pandemic, endoscopy procedures present a high risk for transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus,” the authors write. “A disposable NPL would negate the need for reprocessing altogether and mitigate concern for any cross-contamination between patients.”
Ambu brought the first single-use endoscope to market a decade ago. The company has expanded its portfolio in recent years and plans to add a single-use colonoscope and a single-use gastroscope to its suite of products later this year.
Although the Ambu RhinoLaryngo scored lower than its reusable competitor for image quality in this study, Ambu has upgraded to a second-generation monitor since the research was conducted.