FDA: Switch to Disposable Duodenoscope Models

Marcia Frellick

April 07, 2022

Healthcare facilities and providers should complete the transition to fully disposable duodenoscopes and those with disposable components, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced this week after an analysis of postmarket surveillance studies was completed.

The FDA's directive updates its April 2020 recommendations on the subject. It cites concerns about cleaning fixed endcap duodenoscopes and the increasing availability of models that eliminate the need for reprocessing.

The announcement highlighted the potential for a dramatic difference in between-patient contamination risk, reducing it "by half or more as compared to reusable, or fixed endcaps."

"[I]nterim results from one duodenoscope model with a removable component show a contamination rate of just 0.5%, as compared to older duodenoscope models which had contamination rates as high as 6%," the FDA writes.

Duodenoscopes are used in more than 500,000 procedures each year in the United States and are key in assessing and treating diseases and conditions of the pancreas and bile ducts.

Upgrade to New Models to Decrease Infections

Manufacturers no longer market fixed endcap models in the United States, but some healthcare facilities continue to use them. FDA recommends that all fixed endcap models be replaced.

The FDA says some manufacturers are offering replacement programs to upgrade to a model with a disposable component at no cost.

Two fully disposable models and five with disposable components have been cleared by the FDA. (One model is no longer marketed and thus not listed here.)

Fully Disposable:

Disposable Components:

Additionally, the failure to correctly reprocess a duodenoscope could result in tissue or fluid from one patient transferring to a subsequent patient.

"In rare cases, this can lead to patient-to-patient disease transmission," the FDA says.

Postmarket Surveillance Studies

In 2015, the FDA ordered three manufacturers of reusable devices (Fujifilm, Olympus, and Pentax) to conduct postmarket surveillance studies to determine contamination rates after reprocessing.

In 2019, the FDA also ordered postmarket surveillance studies to the makers of duodenoscopes with disposable endcaps to verify that the new designs reduce the contamination rate.

The final results of the fixed endcap design indicate that contamination rates were as high as 6.6% with high-concern organisms after contamination. High-concern organisms are those more often associated with disease, such as E coli, and Pseudomonas contamination.

"As a result, Pentax and Olympus are withdrawing their fixed endcap duodenoscopes from the market, and Fujifilm has completed withdrawal of its fixed endcap duodenoscope," the FDA writes.

Studies are not yet complete for duodenoscopes with removable components. As of August 12, 2021, the Fujifilm ED-580XT duodenoscope with a removable cap had 57% of the samples required. Interim results indicate that no samples tested positive for enough low-concern organisms to indicate a reprocessing failure, and only 0.5% tested positive for high-concern organisms.

In addition to the contamination risk sampling, each manufacturer was ordered to do postmarket surveillance studies to evaluate whether staff could understand and follow the manufacturer's reprocessing instructions in real-world healthcare settings.

According to the FDA, the results showed that users frequently had difficulty understanding and following the manufacturers' instructions and were not able to successfully complete reprocessing with the older models.

However, the newer models had high user success rates for understanding instructions and correctly performing reprocessing tasks, the FDA says.

Use Duodenoscopes with Innovative Designs to Enhance Safety: FDA Safety Communication. April 5, 2022. FDA Safety Communication

Marcia Frellick is a freelance journalist based in Chicago. She has previously written for the Chicago Tribune, Science News, and Nurse.com, and was an editor at the Chicago Sun-Times, the Cincinnati Enquirer, and the St. Cloud (Minnesota) Times. Follow her on Twitter at @mfrellick

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