Could the future of colonoscopy be disposable?

Low-volume facilities could benefit from using disposable single-use scopes to perform colonoscopies, according to a Science Daily report on a study published in Gut.

Researchers at Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins Medicine examined the economic and safety implications of scopes used in colonoscopies. Facilities typically employ reusable scopes for colonoscopies. However, the FDA approved a disposable colonoscope in 2016 that will soon be available.

Researchers found that purchase, maintenance and cleaning-related costs per colonoscopy ranged from $189 at high-volume centers (3,000 or more procedures per year) to $501 at low-volume centers (1,000 or fewer procedures per year). However, those costs increased if a patient catches a postprocedure infection. PPI rates were higher in low-volume centers, researchers said.

Because of the increased infection rate, low-volume centers may benefit from disposable scopes. "They may decrease device-related infection transmission and may prove cost-effective for some facilities, particularly those with low volume and patients with a high infection risk," the researchers wrote.

Read the entire article here.

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