Tags: endoscope | liver | pancreas | Dr. Oz

Consider Alternatives to Endoscopes

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Tuesday, 17 Mar 2015 10:37 AM Current | Bio | Archive

When James Garner starred as submarine commander Lt. Kenneth Braden in the movie “Up Periscope” (1959), he knew that infiltrating Japanese waters to retrieve secret radio codes was risky business.

But getting scoped in a hospital can be even more perilous.

Recently, headlines revealed that "Fatal Superbugs at UCLA Medical Center" had killed two people, and another 170 may have been exposed to a multiple-antibiotic-resistant infection. The cause of the infection? A super-complex endoscope (duodenoscope) used in a procedure called ERCP.

This duodenoscope is fed through your mouth into your small intestine so that X-rays can be taken to detect disease in and around ducts of the liver and pancreas; doctors can also provide treatment or do surgery via the duodenoscope.

Unfortunately, at UCLA the device was persistently contaminated, even though it was repeatedly cleaned properly. Reuse introduced bacteria into a series of patients receiving ERCP.

The Food and Drug Administration now recommends stepped-up disinfection for these devices. Unfortunately, that may not be enough.

They also say, "Meticulously cleaning duodenoscopes prior to high-level disinfection should reduce the risk of transmitting infection, but may not entirely eliminate it."

So what can you do if you need any type of endoscopy or an ERCP? Discuss risks and benefits (risks remain small overall) with your doc and ask about alternatives.

For ERCPs, percutaneous cholangiography (X-ray of the bile ducts), ultrasound, CT, or MRI cholangiography are non-invasive; all deliver very similar information. Open surgery is often an option for removal of gallstones and treatment of tumors.

The good news? These recent events will increase the safety of endoscopies for everyone.

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Recently, headlines revealed that "Fatal Superbugs at UCLA Medical Center" had killed two people, and another 170 may have been exposed to a multiple-antibiotic-resistant infection.
endoscope, liver, pancreas, Dr. Oz
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2015-37-17
Tuesday, 17 Mar 2015 10:37 AM
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