A systematic review and cost effectiveness analysis of reusable vs. single-use flexible bronchoscopes

Anaesthesia. 2020 Apr;75(4):529-540. doi: 10.1111/anae.14891. Epub 2019 Nov 8.


The cost effectiveness of reusable vs. single-use flexible bronchoscopy in the peri-operative setting has yet to be determined. We therefore aimed to determine this and hypothesised that single-use flexible bronchoscopes are cost effective compared with reusable flexible bronchoscopes. We conducted a systematic review of the literature, seeking all reports of cross-contamination or infection following reusable bronchoscope use in any clinical setting. We calculated the incidence of these outcomes and then determined the cost per patient of treating clinical consequences of bronchoscope-induced infection. We also performed a micro-costing analysis to quantify the economics of reusable flexible bronchoscopes in the peri-operative setting from a high-throughput tertiary centre. This produced an accurate estimate of the cost per use of reusable flexible bronchoscopes. We then performed a cost effectiveness analysis, combining the data obtained from the systematic review and micro-costing analysis. We included 16 studies, with a reported incidence of cross-contamination or infection of 2.8%. In the micro-costing analysis, the total cost per use of a reusable flexible bronchoscope was calculated to be £249 sterling. The cost per use of a single-use flexible bronchoscope was £220 sterling. The cost effectiveness analysis demonstrated that reusable flexible bronchoscopes have a cost per patient use of £511 sterling due to the costs of treatment of infection. The findings from this study suggest benefits from the use of single-use flexible bronchoscopes in terms of cost effectiveness, cross-contamination and resource utilisation.

Keywords: airway management; bronchoscope; economics; infection; intubation.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Bronchoscopes / economics*
  • Bronchoscopy / economics
  • Bronchoscopy / instrumentation*
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis / economics*
  • Disposable Equipment / economics*
  • Equipment Design
  • Equipment Reuse / economics*
  • Humans