Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Disposable endoscopes to reduce infection

Endoscopy, the procedure of looking inside one's hollow organs or cavities, is being revolutionized with the development of single-use endoscopes to minimize risk of infection.
Disposable endoscopes to reduce infection
Endoscopy is mainly used to examine a patient’s gastrointestinal or respiratory tract, by the insertion of an endoscope, a miniature microscopic piece of equipment. Endoscopes traditionally consist of a light fibre and an image fibre connected to a camera that records images inside the body. Modern endoscopes offer flexibility, allowing the physician to directly bend the instrument.

However, re-use of endoscopes and inadequate cleaning procedures compromise sterility and may cause life-threatening infections for the patient. They also emphasise the need for specialised endoscopic materials that can be easily, reliably and cost-effectively sterilised. To address this issue, emerging technology has revolutionised gastrointestinal tract endoscopy by developing capsule endoscopes where image recording occurs through a tiny camera in the form of a pill ingested by the patient.

Alongside this notion, the EU-funded project 'Development of a Disposable Use Endoscopy Tool' (DUET) focused on developing single-use endoscopes in efforts to minimise the risk of cross-contamination and hospital-acquired infections. Project partners demonstrated the feasibility of constructing endoscope equipment that is cost-effective, can be safely disposed after use and in due course, may be recycled.

Overall, project results advanced the technology of single-use endoscopes and have the potential for applicability to other equipment. Advances in this field will improve the accessibility and flexibility of a range of procedures.

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