What is Needed to Ensure Flexible Endoscope Safety?

Preventing Infection

What is Needed to Ensure Flexible Endoscope Safety?

“You can have single-use, sterile flexible endoscopes, for example, that get you away from the whole problem of having to reuse the device.”

It takes two seemingly simple things to ensure flexible endoscope safety: time and resources.

However, according to a national authority on the causes and prevention of healthcare-associated infections, it’s much more complicated than it sounds.

“I’m not suggesting any of this is simple,” Lawrence Muscarella, president of LFM Healthcare Solutions, LLC, said on the First Case podcast.

Muscarella made a call for quality assurance measures in flexible endoscope reprocessing. This includes auditing staff, which he calls “probably the most important thing.”

“We need trained personnel — reprocessing staff,” he said. “We need to ensure that they’re competent and that they periodically review the manufacturers’ instructions for use; that they’re familiar with each different endoscope model or type; and that they ensure that each potentially contaminated channel or surface is being addressed. It’s not just looking at one generic colonoscope or one generic duodenoscope or just one generic flexible endoscope.”

Muscarella — who is an Ambu consultant — said technologies to help protect patients from the risk of exogenous infection include single-use endoscopes.

“You can have single-use, sterile flexible endoscopes, for example, that get you away from the whole problem of having to reuse the device,” he said.

Listen to the full episode here, in which Muscarella also:

  • Calls for the FDA to issue communications regarding infection risk relating to reusable gastroscopes as it has with duodenoscopes, bronchoscopes and urological endoscopes
  • Reviews industry guidelines as they move toward calling for sterilization of flexible endoscopes
  • Explains the FDA’s MAUDE database

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