Patient Safety

Study Probes User Satisfaction with Single-Use Flexible Bronchoscopes for BAL

“Additional studies should continue to evaluate the difference in these scopes with a larger sample size, including clinicians from different backgrounds."

The Ambu aScope 5 Broncho received an overall performance rating of excellent from all participants — the highest of all devices scored — in a recent study that was presented as a poster at the American Association for Bronchology and Interventional Pulmonology (AABIP) 2023 conference and at CHEST 2023.

The analysis reviewed image quality, maneuverability and performance on bronchoalveolar lavages (BALs) via responses to nine survey questions. All the single-use bronchoscopes were rated as at least satisfactory. Only the Ambu aScope 5 received a 5/5 score of excellent.

Study participants included the University of Chicago, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, the Medical College of Wisconsin and the University of Texas Southwestern.

Seven interventional pulmonologists performed two BALs on low-fidelity lung models to evaluate five single-use flexible bronchoscopes. The scopes used were:

  • Ambu aScope 5 Broncho
  • Ambu® aScope™ 4 Broncho
  • Boston Scientific Exalt-B
  • Olympus H-SteriScope
  • Verathon B-Flex

The Ambu scopes used an integrated sampling system while the others used a Lukens trap. After BAL completion with each scope, participants answered a nine-question survey evaluating scope performance (1 = unacceptable, 3 = satisfactory, 5 = excellent).

All but one of the scopes was rated as at least satisfactory. The Ambu aScope 5 scored the highest in all categories measured.

“Additional studies should continue to evaluate the difference in these scopes with a larger sample size, including clinicians from different backgrounds,” the authors wrote.

The study was authored by two health economists with Ambu USA and four interventional pulmonologists who consult for the company. Single-Use Endoscopy is an Ambu USA learning center.

Ambu launched the world’s first single-use flexible bronchoscope in 2009 and has continued to innovate and expand into different therapeutic areas in the years since. A variety of competitors have developed their own single-use endoscopes.

The conventional wisdom in interventional pulmonology has long been that reusable bronchoscopes perform better than their single-use counterparts, but new research counters that thinking.

AABIP took place in Chicago in August.


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