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Cross-contamination with reusable/semi-disposable laryngoscopes 101

Cross-contamination with reusable/semi-disposable laryngoscopes 101

As with many other medical devices, it is common practice for health care providers across the country to use reusuable or semi-disposable laryngoscopes. A number of studies in recent times, however, have illustrated that such devices could in fact pose a threat to patient health.

The risk of cross-contamination
Laryngoscopes are used by specialists to examine the larynx area, which is known more colloquially as the "voice box." As Healthline explained, the procedure in which a laryngoscope is used is called a laryngoscopy, and is typically used to investigate problematic symptoms in the area, such as problems swallowing and chronic coughs.  

"Illness due to cross-contamination can have devastating consequences."

A reusable laryngoscope may be used on a number of patients in one day, and although physicians follow rigorous disinfection protocols, there remains the risk of cross-contamination with certain viruses and bacteria. This is because, as reported by the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists, disinfection efforts are rarely 100 percent effective – there remains a very real risk that small remnants of patient blood and saliva will be left on the laryngoscope blade, which poses the threat of infection. 

The AANA explained that there is a small but notable risk of patients contracting viruses such as Hepatitis B and HIV from the blades of reusable laryngoscope, as well we as organisms such as alpha Streptococcus and Staphylococcus aureus. Such organisms can lead to the development of serious conditions in patients, such as pneumonia, which in some cases can be life threatening. The source elaborated that one notable study found that four children in one hospital setting had contracted a Pseudomonas aeruginosa, likely from the same laryngoscope. The infection led to the death of one of the children. 

The study indicated that although the risk of such events is small, when illness does occur due to cross-contamination the consequences can be devastating. That's why an increasing number of medical practices are making the switch to single-use laryngoscopes. 

Laryngoscopes are used to examine the voice box area.Laryngoscopes are used to examine the voice box area.

The benefits of single use
Single-use devices eliminate the risk of cross-contamination, as they are thrown away and never recycled. Additionally, single-use medical tools provide a range of other benefits when compared with reusable tools. Benefits include:

  • Single-use tools can be more cost-effective. 
  • They save physicians a considerable amount of time, as they don't need to be sterilized.
  • They are tough and easy to use.
  • Reusable tools need maintenance, which can be time-consuming and expensive. Single-use tools are ready to go.

OBP Medical can help
Consider the range of single-use laryngoscopes from OBP Medical. The SURE-SCOPE Single-Use Lighted Laryngoscope is easy to use, pre-assembled and comes with a safe LED light source, which is powered by lithium batteries. To learn more about the SURE-SCOPE Single-Use Lighted Laryngoscope and to request a free sample, click here

Also be sure to review OBP Medical's extensive range of other single-use medical tools, including anoscopes and vaginal speculums.

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