Single-use (disposable) flexible bronchoscopes: The future of bronchoscopy?

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Barron, Sarah P.
Kennedy, Marcus P.
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Springer Nature Switzerland AG
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The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has highlighted the importance of reducing occupational exposure to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The reprocessing procedure for reusable flexible bronchoscopes (RFBs) involves multiple episodes of handling of equipment that has been used during an aerosol-generating procedure and thus is a potential source of transmission. Single-use flexible bronchoscopes (SUFBs) eliminate this source. Additionally, RFBs pose a risk of nosocomial infection transmission between patients with the identification of human proteins, deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and pathogenic organisms on fully reprocessed bronchoscopes despite full adherence to the guidelines. Bronchoscopy units have been hugely impacted by the pandemic with restructuring of pre- and post-operative areas, altered patient protocols and the reassessment of air exchange and cleaning procedures. SUFBs can be incorporated into these protocols as a means of improving occupational safety. Most studies on the efficacy of SUFBs have occurred in an anaesthetic setting so it remains to be seen whether they will perform to an acceptable standard in complex respiratory procedures such as transbronchial biopsies and cryotherapy. Here, we outline their potential uses in a respiratory setting, both during and after the current pandemic.
COVID-19 , Disposable bronchoscope , Single-use flexible bronchoscope , Pandemic , SARS-CoV-2
Barron, S. P., Kennedy, M. P. (2020) 'Single-use (disposable) flexible bronchoscopes: The future of bronchoscopy?', Advances In Therapy, 37, pp. 4538-4548. doi: 10.1007/s12325-020-01495-8
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