2015-02-20 19:06:29 UTC

Five Important Facts About Duodenoscopes & “Superbug” Contamination

CONTACT: Rachel Steigerwald

Bethesda, MD (Feb. 20, 2015) — There have been reports of patient-to-patient infections of CRE bacteria linked to endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) procedures. Following are important facts for the public to know, supplied by the American Gastroenterological Association, which is taking the lead in addressing this issue.

  1. ERCP is performed using a special device called a duodenoscope. It is not the same device that is used in routine upper endoscopy or colonoscopy.
  2. Most people will never have an ERCP. But for patients who need it, ERCP is a critical and life-saving procedure. ERCP allows doctors to diagnose and treat problems in the bile duct and pancreatic ducts such as stones, narrowing, tumors and blockages.
  3. The therapeutic benefits of ERCP outweigh the potential low risk of infection. The infectious complication rate for ERCP overall is in total only about 1 percent. That includes all types of bacteria and these CRE cases to not change the overall risk.
  4. The problem of infection transmission lies in the complex design of duodenoscopes where the elevator channel can allow bacteria to remain after cleansing, even if reprocessing follows accepted procedures.
  5. Any cases of patient infection tied to duodenoscopes are not acceptable and need to be thoroughly investigated with solutions to be developed.

Through the AGA Center for GI Innovation and Technology, we are uniquely positioned to work with the FDA device branch and endoscope manufacturers. We have offered our help to resolve and monitor this issue. Our goal is safe patient care with no preventable infections.

AGA is planning a workshop on Saturday, March 21, 2015, to take a critical look at the issue of effective scope cleaning. The workshop will bring gastroenterologists together with representatives from FDA and other key stakeholders to collectively discuss the issues and develop short- and long-term solutions to address the proper cleansing of duodenoscopes.

Read AGA’s statement on the issue: Continued Infection Risk with Duodenoscopes Used for ERCP is Unacceptable.

About the AGA Institute 

The American Gastroenterological Association is the trusted voice of the GI community. Founded in 1897, the AGA has grown to include more than 16,000 members from around the globe who are involved in all aspects of the science, practice and advancement of gastroenterology. The AGA Institute administers the practice, research and educational programs of the organization. www.gastro.org.
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