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The 3 Ways Better Designed Laryngoscopes Save Lives

The 3 Ways Better Designed Laryngoscopes Save Lives

Laryngoscopes are used in medical procedures where the patient’s throat or airway must be accessed. Arguably, the most important use of laryngoscopes is to aid in intubation, either in emergency situations or prior to surgery under general anesthesia.

Laryngoscopes are also used during diagnostic laryngoscopies. Laryngoscopy can be performed for several reasons and allows doctors to get a closer look at a patient’s throat, voice box, and vocal cords. A biopsy may be performed during laryngoscopy to check for cancer.

Reusable laryngoscopes are made of metal. They are typically made of two separate parts, a handle, and a blade. The device must be assembled before being used on a patient. After each use, reusable laryngoscopes are sent to the hospital’s reprocessing department. After sterilization, they are returned to the hospital floor. Since light bulbs and batteries would be destroyed during reprocessing, reusable laryngoscopes require a separate light source.

Single-use, one-piece laryngoscopes with a built-in light have many benefits over reusable laryngoscopes. The need for assembly, reprocessing, and a separate light is eliminated. This saves money, precious time, and allows for greater precision during procedures.

Faster Intubations Allow for Better Outcomes

Emergency Intubations in the Field

In emergency situations where patients cannot breathe on their own, seconds matter. There are some patients who will be difficult to intubate, especially in a pre-hospital setting. “Emergency Tracheal Intubation: Techniques and Outcomes“, an article published in the journal Respiratory Care, looked at pre-hospital intubations. The study found that in the field, 83% of patients were successfully intubated on the first attempt.

Paramedics and other clinicians in the field are clearly adept at what they do, but this study shows that 17% of patients required multiple attempts. Problems arising from a poorly designed laryngoscope can further delay intubation on an already difficult patient, leading to complications and fatalities. A one-piece laryngoscope with built-in lighting reduces hassle and saves time for clinicians already working in high-pressure situations.

Operating Room Intubations

Successful intubation must be performed before surgery under general anesthesia. In operating rooms, intubation is often more controlled than out in the field. While a delay in the OR is typically not a matter of life and death, it does create scheduling headaches for hospitals, surgeons, and patients. In many hospitals, ORs are tightly scheduled. Difficulty with the intubation of one or more patients can create a cascade effect. The surgeries planned for the rest of the day will be thrown off schedule.

Intubations in the operating room can be carried out quickly and efficiently with single-use laryngoscopes. There will never be a delay because a separate light source wasn’t fully charged. There is no waiting around for devices to come back from reprocessing. Everything the clinician needs is in one sterile package.

Reliable Lighting Facilitates Greater Precision

No matter the setting or usage, laryngoscopes require a reliable light source. Single-use laryngoscopes with a built-in light provide a reliable, safe light source. Each and every patient has a brand new light source for their procedure. There are no concerns if light will need to be recharged or replaced mid-procedure. Since each light is new, it will not overheat or stop working due to overuse.

Adequate lighting helps facilitate faster intubations. In the field, lives are saved. In operating rooms, surgeries are kept on schedule and delays are avoided.

During diagnostic procedures, a dependable light allows the clinician to clearly observe the throat and voice box. A thorough examination or successful biopsy enables conditions like cancer to be diagnosed early on.

A built-in light also allows the clinician to use both hands for the procedure. They don’t have to put on a headlamp, have an assistant hold a light, or fumble with a separate light source. An integrated light source means the laryngoscope is ready to use when the clinician needs it.

Elimination of Cross Contamination

Studies have found that reusable laryngoscopes are not always adequately reprocessed and pose a cross-contamination risk for patients. In 2017, The Journal of Preventive Medicine and Public Health published the results of a reusable laryngoscope study. In the study, laryngoscope handles and blades stored on crash carts at two tertiary hospitals were tested for bacteria.

The study found that 5.6% of the handle tops, 28.2% of the handles, and 18.2% of the blades tested positive for at least one bacteriaAcinetobacter baumannii and Staphylococcus aureus were two of the 18 types of bacteria found.

Both Acinetobacter and Staphylococcus can cause severe complications for patients with chronic conditions or weakened immune systems. Acinetobacter can lead to pneumonia and wound infections. Acinetobacter has been found to be resistant to many antibiotics. Infections from Staphylococcus, commonly called staph infections, can lead to sepsis, pneumonia, endocarditis, and osteomyelitis.

The FDA has recognized that certain design elements of medical devices are difficult to adequately reprocess. The handles of most reusable laryngoscopes are knurled. This surface allows clinicians to maintain a tight grip on the device during use. However, the knurled surface is not always wholly sterilized during reprocessing. On a laryngoscope, if a sterilized blade is folded down for storage the tip then comes in contact with the contaminated handle.

SURE-SCOPE Sets the Standard for Single-Use Laryngoscopes

Every SURE-SCOPE from obp comes ready to use. Our laryngoscopes all have one-piece construction, eliminating the need to find and assemble the correct blade and handle combinations. The integrated bright LED light is safe for patients and does not emit any damaging heat. A single-use device not only eliminates the risk of cross-contamination for patients but it also relieves the burden on busy reprocessing departments.

SURE-SCOPE comes in a range of sizes. Having the right size blade for each patient allows for more precise intubation. During laryngoscopies, the right size blade means testing is carried out accurately, allowing for the early diagnosis and treatment of cancer. Well designed, single-use laryngoscopes like SURE-SCOPE are easier for clinicians to use, and in turn, save lives. You can learn more about obp’s SURE-SCOPE laryngoscope here, or contact us for more information.

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