Biopsy samples left in many gastrointestinal endoscopes after procedures, U of Utah Health finds

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A new study suggests biopsy specimens are retained in gastrointestinal endoscopes about two-thirds of the time, reports Medscape

Researchers at the University of Utah Health in Salt Lake City examined endoscopes used in 50 outpatient colonoscopies and 55 esophagogastroduodenoscopy procedures, or EGD tests. The latter procedure allows clinicians to examine the inside of a patient's esophagus, stomach and duodenum.

Researchers found retained biopsy samples in the endoscopes after 64 percent of all procedures. Recovered tissue was sent to pathology for evaluation, which changed or added to the diagnosis of five patients. 

"All of these changes were minor, and patients were already on appropriate treatment," said study author Gregory Toy, MD, an internal medicine resident at University of Utah Health, according to Medscape. "The take-home message would be that retained biopsies are much more common than most endoscopists would think."

The findings also highlight the importance of diligent endoscope reprocessing between procedures, according to Serge Sorser, MD, a gastroenterologist at Ascension Michigan Providence Hospital in Novi who was not involved in the study. 

Dr. Toy presented the research May 31 at the American Gastroenterological Association's Digestive Diseases Week in San Diego, Calif.

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