ECRI Institute: Culture duodenoscopes to reduce CRE infections

The issue of carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae infections linked to hard-to-clean endoscopes "requires immediate action and executive level attention," according to the ECRI Institute, and the organization has recommended culturing duodenoscopes to reduce the risk of CRE infections.

ECRI Institute issued a High Priority Hazard Report Tuesday, urging healthcare provider organizations to take steps to keep patients safe and reduce infections. The recommendations "will likely require additional costs and changes in workflow and processes," said Jeffrey Lerner, PhD, president and CEO of ECRI Institute.

Culturing endoscopes involves swabbing the scopes after reprocessing is complete and waiting to release the scope until negative results are received, a process that takes up to 48 hours. "We believe this will provide the highest assurance of preventing CRE infections," the Hazard Report states.

Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle already takes the culturing approach to prevent infections linked to duodenoscopes after it experienced an outbreak of antibiotic-resistant bacteria infections from 2012-2014. To make this approach work, the hospital bought 20 new scopes and added new staff members to execute the cleaning and surveillance. This came at a price tag of roughly $1 million.

See the full Hazard Report, and other ECRI Institute resources on CRE infections and duodenoscopes, here.

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