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Endoscopic transmission of carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae: implications for U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval and postmarket surveillance of endoscopic devices

      Since the first widely reported case cluster of duodenoscope-associated transmission of carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) in 2013 that affected 38 patients, similar outbreaks have occurred throughout the world. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, professional gastroenterology societies, and endoscope manufacturers have taken multiple steps to address this issue. Unlike prior outbreaks attributed to lapses in cleaning and reprocessing, transmission and outbreaks have continued to occur despite compliance with current reprocessing guidelines. A definitive method of duodenoscope reprocessing remains elusive, and the FDA recently recommended transition to new designs with disposable components that do not require reprocessing. The first fully disposable duodenoscope received FDA clearance as a “breakthrough” device in December 2019. Although the human, microbiologic, and endoscopic design factors responsible for infectious transmissions and disinfecting techniques to avoid them have been examined, discussion has not included the critical role of FDA regulation of duodenoscopes through the 510(k) clearance pathway and the mechanisms of postmarket surveillance, including adverse event reporting. We present an overview of the FDA approval of duodenoscopes by analyzing the FDA’s 510(k) premarket notification database for data supporting clearance of duodenoscope models implicated in CRE-related outbreaks as well as subsequently required postmarket studies. We address the policy implications of CRE outbreaks on postmarketing surveillance and the need for increased gastroenterologist involvement in the life cycle of duodenoscopes and other medical devices. This includes reporting thorough adverse event data to the FDA and device manufacturers, supporting active surveillance studies to ensure safety and effectiveness, and evaluating implementation of recommendations to reduce adverse events.

      Abbreviations:

      CRE (carbepenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae), FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration), MDR (medical device report), UDI (Unique Device Identifier)
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