Infection Control in Endoscopy

New Study: Single-Use Bronchoscopes Can Reduce Hospital Readmission Rates by 53%, According to 14,000+ Patient Study

Hospitals that perform bronchoscopies, a common endoscopy procedure, can reduce readmission rates by over half, and potentially lower costs, by adopting single-use flexible bronchoscopes.

That’s according to a new abstract that was submitted and presented at the recently completed CHEST 2021 Annual Meeting. The study examined the health outcomes of 14,228 patients who underwent a bronchoscopy procedure. It found that sterile, single-use bronchoscopes reduced the re-admissions rate by over half, from 7.7 percent to 3.6 percent, compared with reusable bronchoscopes. 

The analysis found that the patient cohort whose procedure was performed with a reusable flexible bronchoscope was 2.3 times more likely to be readmitted within 30 days than the patient group examined with a sterile, single-use flexible bronchoscope. This study analyzed patient procedures from both inpatient hospitals and outpatient ambulatory facilities.

This is significant because reducing preventable hospital readmissions is a national priority for payers, providers, and policymakers seeking to improve healthcare and lower costs.

“The data analysis demonstrates significant clinical benefits of single-use bronchoscopes in reducing readmission rates and patient risk,” according to Dr. Hudson Garrett, who authored the study. “To reduce these risks, the use of sterile single-use bronchoscopes should be considered to eliminate reprocessing failures, improve overall operational efficiency, and reduce potential acquisition of healthcare-associated infections.”

Dr. Garrett is an expert in infection prevention, infectious disease, and medical device safety, and is an adjunct assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of Louisville School of Medicine. He examined 14,228 procedures from 2016 to 2019 contained in the Premier Healthcare Database. Premier Inc. is a leading healthcare improvement company with an alliance of 4,100 U.S. hospitals and health systems and roughly 200,000 other providers and organizations.

This publication comes after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s recent safety communication on bronchoscopy, which also recommended single-use bronchoscopes for COVID-19 patients or wherever there is increased risk of spreading infection and recommended immediate sterilization whenever reusable endoscopes are used. This increases the cost, complexity, and time associated with managing reusable endoscopes.

“This study adds to the growing body of evidence and regulatory guidance showing that all hospitals should transition to single-use bronchoscopy as the standard of care, given the clinical, financial, and operational benefits,” said Juan Jose Gonzalez, CEO of Ambu A/S. “We pioneered and are the leader in single-use bronchoscopy, and we remain committed to support healthcare systems in their journey.”

Click here for the published abstract. Dr. Garrett is an Ambu consultant.

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