Risk of transmission of carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae and related “superbugs” during gastrointestinal endoscopy.
World J Gastrointest Endosc. 2014 Oct 16;6(10):457-74.
1Lawrence F Muscarella, LFM Healthcare Solutions, LLC, Montgomeryville, PA 18936, United States.
To evaluate the risk of transmission of carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) and their related superbugs during gastrointestinal (GI) endoscopy. Reports of outbreaks linked to GI endoscopes contaminated with different types of infectious agents, including CRE and their related superbugs, were reviewed.
Published during the past 30 years, both prior to and since CRE’s emergence, these reports were obtained by searching the peer-reviewed medical literature (via the United States National Library of Medicine’s “MEDLINE” database); the Food and Drug Administration’s Manufacturer and User Facility Device Experience database, or “MAUDE”; and the Internet (via Google’s search engine).
This review focused on an outbreak of CRE in 2013 following the GI endoscopic procedure known as endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography, or ERCP, performed at “Hospital X” located in the suburbs of Chicago (IL; United States).
Part of the largest outbreak of CRE in United States history, the infection and colonization of 10 and 28 of this hospital’s patients, respectively, received considerable media attention and was also investigated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which published a report about this outbreak in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), in 2014.
This report, along with the results of an independent inspection of Hospital X’s infection control practices following this CRE outbreak, were also reviewed.
While this article focuses primarily on the prevention of transmissions of CRE and their related superbugs in the GI endoscopic setting, some of its discussion and recommendations may also apply to other healthcare settings, to other types of flexible endoscopes, and to other types of transmissible infectious agents.
This review found that GI endoscopy is an important risk factor for the transmission of CRE and their related superbugs, having been recently associated with patient morbidity and mortality following ERCP.
The CDC reported in MMWR that the type of GI endoscope, known as an ERCP endoscope, that Hospital X used to perform ERCP in 2013 on the 38 patients who became infected or colonized with CRE might be particularly challenging to clean and disinfect, because of the complexity of its physical design.
If performed in strict accordance with the endoscope manufacturer’s labeling, supplemented as needed with professional organizations’ published guidelines, however, current practices for reprocessing GI endoscopes, which include high-level disinfection, are reportedly adequate for the prevention of transmission of CRE and their related superbugs.
Several recommendations are provided to prevent CRE transmissions in the healthcare setting. CRE transmissions are not limited to contaminated GI endoscopes and also have been linked to other reusable flexible endoscopic instrumentation, including bronchoscopes and cystoscopes.
In conclusion, contaminated GI endoscopes, particularly those used during ERCP, have been causally linked to outbreaks of CRE and their related superbugs, with associated patient morbidity and mortality. Thorough reprocessing of these complex reusable instruments is necessary to prevent disease transmission and ensure patient safety during GI endoscopy.
Enhanced training and monitoring of reprocessing staffers to verify the proper cleaning and brushing of GI endoscopes, especially the area around, behind and near the forceps elevator located at the distal end of the ERCP endoscope, are recommended. If the ERCP endoscope features a narrow and exposed channel that houses a wire connecting the GI endoscope’s control head to this forceps elevator, then this channel’s complete reprocessing, including its flushing with a detergent using a procedure validated for effectiveness, is also emphasized.
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