Single-use bronchoscopes performed well as an alternative to reusables when performing bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL).

Patient Safety

Study: One Single-Use Bronchoscope Excelled in BAL Use

The analysis showed single-use flexible bronchoscopes to be a viable alternative to reusables for performing bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL).

The Ambu aScope 5 Broncho rated highest among users across all categories measured for bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) performance in a recent study that was presented as a poster at the American Association for Bronchology and Interventional Pulmonology (AABIP) 2023 conference.

The analysis showed single-use flexible bronchoscopes to be a viable alternative to reusables for performing bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL). It also found that bronchoscopes with closed-loop sampling systems such as the Ambu® aScope™ 4 Broncho and the aScope 5, may provide an easier, safer and more efficient tool for the procedures without the need for additional staff.

Study participants included the University of Chicago, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, the Medical College of Wisconsin and the University of Texas Southwestern. Two Ambu employees were among the six authors.

“Additional studies should continue to evaluate the difference in these scopes with a larger sample size, including clinicians from different backgrounds,” the authors wrote. AABIP was held in Chicago in August.

Seven interventional pulmonologists performed two bronchoalveolar lavages (BALs) on low-fidelity lung models to evaluate five single-use flexible bronchoscopes. The scopes used were:

  • Ambu aScope 5 Broncho
  • Ambu aScope 4 Broncho
  • Boston Scientific Exalt-B
  • Olympus H-SteriScope
  • Verathon B-Flex

The Ambu scopes used an integrated sampling system while the others used a Lukens trap. After BAL completion with each scope, participants answered a nine-question survey evaluating scope performance.

BAL is a minimally invasive procedure that samples the lung by flushing sterile saline into a target area and then suctions that solution for testing. The procedure has seen little innovation in the five decades since it was introduced.

Ambu introduced its closed-loop system, the BronchoSampler, in 2019 and it revolutionized BAL by providing a vacuum bypass that enables switching between suction and sampling without a suction tube switch. That is one of the key factors that slows down workflow, and Ambu’s system can be operated by one clinician, using one hand, minimizing sample exposure points and protecting both the healthcare professional and the sample itself.

Ambu now packages specimen collection containers together with its single-use scopes to further simplify the work.

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