The company said that the flexible ENT scopes are used by otolaryngologists to examine the nose and throat area for various disorders such as dysphagia, reflux disease, snoring, and chronic sinusitis.

The microbial study results show that sterile disposable sheaths, when used with endoscopes, are as effective as using a liquid germicidal system for disinfecting scopes between patient procedures and provide protection against cross-contamination equivalent to immersion in germicidal solutions.

The study authors Alphi Elackattu, Mary Zoccoli, Jeffrey Spiegel and Kenneth Grundfast, all from Boston University School of Medicine, have noted in their conclusion that through the use of sterile disposable sheaths, physicians will be able to prevent cross-contamination. Using the individually packaged disposable sterile sheaths has been cleared by the FDA as an acceptable alternative to high level disinfection following endoscope use.

The Slide-On EndoSheath System is a sterile, disposable cover for flexible endoscopes that provides a latex-free barrier between the scope and the patient. The system is designed to reduce patient contact with organic debris and staff exposure to hazardous chemicals. The study authors noted that the system is an alternative to time-intensive chemical reprocessing, allows for quick scope turnaround and helps physicians maximize time treating patients.

Janis Saunier, marketing director of the ENT division at Medtronic, said: “The EndoSheath System is designed to allow physicians to cover the insertion tube of the flexible ENT scope with a sterile microbial barrier when performing endoscopy procedures in the clinic and office environments.

“We believe the use of a sterile sheath on a nasopharyngoscope, combined with enzymatic detergent cleaning and disinfection with 70 percent alcohol, can provide a reliably decontaminated, patient-ready instrument, providing an acceptable alternative to high-level disinfection of endoscopes.”