We appreciate you bringing us your worries about the disposable laryngoscope blades being used at your institution right now. The suitability of devices for safe airway management is undoubtedly a major issue in the practice of anesthesiology, even if APSF has not yet received any reports of this nature.
You bring up two issues related to patient safety and clinical practice:
What benefit does utilizing Disposable Laryngoscopes blades in everyday medical practice provide?
Exist any flaws in the construction of the blade you are now using?
Regarding the latter query, clinical care concerns for medical devices can be reported to the FDA Med Watch Database if there haven’t been any patient injuries or fatalities. A medical device’s information can be entered into that database by anyone. The facility and manufacturer are required to enter a report to the FDA Maude Database if there has been a death or serious injury.
The ECRI Institute also keeps a database of hardware issues and welcomes user submissions to it. To date, ECRI has not received any reports of patient injuries caused by single-use laryngoscopes.
The widespread query regarding the use of disposable laryngoscopes in clinical practice poses difficulties for medical practices across the nation. Disposable laryngoscopes are economically appealing, notwithstanding environmental and clinical care constraints, because the reprocessing needs for reusable laryngoscopes have significantly increased the expense and complexity of managing these devices.
Reusable laryngoscopes pose an infection risk, raising concerns about patient safety that have led to reprocessing restrictions. It is unknown if the dangers of infection outweigh those of inadequate airway care or the effects on the environment, but it would seem that an airway issue brought on by a subpar disposable laryngoscope would be more significant than any possible infection concerns.
On the ASA website, under Greening the OR, there is some literature that compares the environmental impact of reusable versus disposable laryngoscopes.
The document’s creators support reusable devices
In one significant French study, patients requiring emergency intubation were randomly assigned to receive reusable or disposable laryngoscopes.
The study discovered that the disposable version provided greater clinical performance. They did not assess the risk of an infectious disease. This discovery does highlight the fact that disposable laryngoscopes are readily available and ought to function at least as well as our reusable ones.
One recommendation is to speak with the manufacturer about any potential solutions to quality issues. Examining some of the different disposable laryngoscopes that are readily available and encouraging a trial run of some alternative devices are other options. You might find one or more of the other devices available to be appropriate for your practice.
These sources could be beneficial. Additionally, Dr. Jodi Sherman, a specialist in this area, offers her opinion on this crucial topic of patient safety in this edition of the APSF Newsletter (see next page). Once again, I appreciate you taking the time to share your worries.