MHRA warns of reusable device contamination

After a patient died of hepatitis B, the U.K.'s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is warning hospitals about the dangers of reusable medical devices when not properly maintained.

While the agency hasn't confirmed that the hepatitis infection stemmed from a reusable device, the MHRA is urging providers to review their decontamination methods on all transoesophageal, transvaginal and transrectal probes, MassDevice reports.

While the quick response to a single case may seem rash, regulators the world over take the risk of disease transmission from in-hospital reusable devices very seriously. Last year, the FDA amended its guidance on the reprocessing of reusable devices, warning that without the proper care, these devices can retain debris and biologic materials from patient to patient, increasing the odds of infection.

Endoscopes, camera-rigged tubes inserted into the body, can be particularly susceptible, the FDA has said. From 2007 to 2010, for instance, the FDA received 80 reports of faulty decontamination of the devices and 28 reports of infection that may have resulted from it. The agency has also issued guidance to devicemakers on how to design techs that are more streamlined, reducing the risk of debris remaining on reusable devices.

- read the MassDevice report