Several national gastroenterology (GI) societies have issued a joint statement that challenges points raised in a recent article in The New York Times.
This article, as we previously wrote, primarily focused on the difficulty healthcare providers face in sterilizing duodenoscopes.
A letter to the editor, as well as a longer statement, written by the GI societies acknowledged the importance of pursuing solutions to eliminate infection risks associated with duodenoscopes, but pushed back on the article, saying that it "largely understates the value of duodenoscopes and the procedure they are used for: endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)."
The societies argue for the importance and value of ERCP, stating that patients who undergo the procedure are often very ill and that the infection risks associated with sterilizing duodenoscopes do not outweigh the benefits of ERCP. Nearly 700,000 patients undergo ERCP annually, the statement notes.
Furthermore, the GI societies acknowledge that while they are working with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and industry to "identify and properly vet potential solutions," withdrawal of duodenoscopes in the meantime is "simply not feasible."
The letter is signed by the presidents of the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE), American College of Gastroenterology (ACG), American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) and Society of Gastroenterology Nurses and Associates (SGNA).