Senator pushes for FDA action on scopes that led to infections at Virginia Mason

Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) sent a letter Tuesday to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration imploring that the agency updates its best practices for sanitizing duodenoscopes, a specialized type of endoscope, according to a Seattle Times report.

The letter comes after news of several carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae infections at Seattle-based Virginia Mason Medical Center that were tied to dirty duodenoscopes. The complicated design of the scope, which is used in a procedure called endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography, makes it difficult to fully disinfect.

In the letter, Sen. Murray asked the FDA to draft new guidelines on how to sanitize the scopes. Additionally, she wants the FDA to better track infections and other complications tied to the device.

"Even when providers carefully follow manufacturers' labeling regarding cleaning and disinfections of duodenoscopes, contamination still poses grave risks to patients," she wrote, according to the Seattle Times.

The FDA plans to respond to the senator directly, according to the report. The agency has already stated that it is aware of CRE infections being tied to the scopes, but "feels that the lifesaving nature of ERCP…makes it important for these devices to remain available."

More articles on CRE infections:
CRE infections at Virginia Mason tied to dirty scopes
The current state of antibiotic resistance: A cautionary tale 
CRE cases on the rise in Southeastern US 

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