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Product Review: Olympus Single-Use H-SteriScopes™ Portfolio

Healthcare | May, 2021

In clinical settings, certain high-risk procedures have the potential to transmit viruses to healthcare personnel and nosocomial diseases to patients via different mechanisms like contamination of medical devices. Amidst the coronavirus pandemic, the sterilization process and infection control have become of utmost value, especially when it comes to bronchoscopy procedures. Since the coronavirus mostly targets the pulmonary glands, bronchoscopy procedures performed with reprocessed bronchoscopes in the infected patients could increase the risk of cross-contamination for both the patients and healthcare personnel involved. Improperly cleaned reusable bronchoscopes have remained a major cause for high mortality rates, but even after fully disinfecting the fragile device with a high-level disinfection process, there is always a high risk of contamination by human protein, DNA, and harbour infection, which can cost patient’s lives. Due to the sterility factor, single-use flexible bronchoscopes (SUFB) are rapidly replacing the traditional reusable bronchoscopes to eliminate the transmission of infectious particles. Earlier the use of SUFB was limited to emergencies for the management of unanticipated difficult airways, but they are more rapidly being adopted for clinical pulmonary settings to reduce post-procedural side-effects. 


Addressing the growing demand for SUFBs, Olympus launched a premium range of single-use bronchoscopes, the H-SteriScopes to enable advanced diagnostic and therapeutic procedures with enhanced functionality. Introducing a line of five premium disposable endoscope models, Olympus intends to provide physicians the flexibility to choose the right tools for delivering on-demand convenience along with premium features. The robust bronchoscopy portfolio streamlines workflow, fulfils the need for urgent procedure preparation, and addresses other procedure-specific requirements. The bronchoscopes are engineered to achieve faster transitions for diagnosing and treating patients, thus improves the quality of patient care and enhances the productivity of operations. 


The single-use bronchoscopes are ready to use, deliver high image quality, and lowers the risk of contamination. The H-SteriScope bronchoscope portfolio includes models ranging from Zero to Extra with an outer diameter range of 2.2 mm to 6.2 mm and a working channel range of 1.2mm-3.2 mm. However, each model consists of common features such as controlled insertion tube rotation up to 90 degrees (left and right) and angular tip that reaches up to 210 degrees (up and down). Delivered in sterile packaging, the H-SteriScopes are portable and do not require reprocessing or repair. The freshly modeled bronchoscopes are particularly suitable for supporting tissue biopsy, foreign body retrieval, and other advanced lung interventions.


Key Features of H-SteriScope Bronchoscope Portfolio

No Cross-Contamination

The single-use flexible bronchoscopes (SUFBs) eliminate the need for reprocessing procedures opted for reusable bronchoscopes. Bronchoscopy is an aerosol-generating diagnostic procedure that involves contact of the fragile medical device with the mucous membrane so any form of contamination can lead to adverse effects both for the patient and healthcare personnel involved. However, there is no risk of exogenous infection or cross-contamination with the use of SUFB as the device is discarded right after every procedure. Also, SUFBs are not designed to be reprocessed like conventional bronchoscopes and are appropriate for single-use as opposed to single-patient use. 


Wider Angulation

With greater upward tip flexibility up to 210 degrees, the bronchoscope supports smoother insertion into the lobe bronchi, enabling higher endurability provided by the same as the reusable ones. The wider the angular tip of the bronchoscope, the more flexible is the device. The enhanced flexibility allows more visualization of the nasopharynx, oropharynx, trachea, and other divisions for therapeutic and diagnostic purposes. The distal tip flexion of 210 degrees further improves scope handling and enhances the user to enter the segments requiring a large amount of angulation. 


Rotation Function

The new generation of bronchoscopes incorporates a rotation function that rotates the distal end of the scope left or right up to 90 degrees. Simply turning a ring, the distal end of the bronchoscope can be manually rotated or maintained straight in the neutral position. Thus, the device offers great manoeuvrability to bronchologists with the least possible wrist movement, fatigue, or discomfort. Also, the novel technology allows the physicians to hold the scope in a comfortable position and access difficult-to-reach segments easily. 


Passive Bending

When the bronchoscope encounters resistance, the pressure is equally redistributed in a way that the insertion tube bends according to the contours of the colon. Thus, the devices help to reduce patient discomfort, enhance procedural efficiency as well as allow ease of insertion and greater operator control.



Besides the initial costs, reusable flexible bronchoscopes (RFBs) require a significant number of resources for reprocessing such as the supply of disinfectants, enzyme reagents, detergents, and additional costs for training of personnel designated for cleaning scopes. Moreover, reusable bronchoscopes require high maintenance due to repair costs and service agreements. On the contrary, the SUFBs are more economical and do not require repair and reprocessing costs.  


Safer Alternative

The SUFBs are safer alternatives for immunocompromised patients, rare cases of transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs), or patients with high-risk cases of pneumonia. Also, the use of SUFB significantly reduces the risk of transmission to healthcare professionals from patients with asymptomatic or atypical infections.


Other Alternative for Single-Use Bronchoscopes 

Ambu aScope 4 Regular Disposable Flexible Bronchoscope

In 2017, Ambu launched single-use bronchoscopes with an aim to provide better image quality and take mechanical efficiency of the device to next level. The fourth generation of aScope is a high-tech single-use device, designed to improve workflow at hospitals along with reducing the contamination associated with reusable endoscopy solutions. aScope disposable flexible bronchoscopes include advancements such as improved adaptive light control, increased sensitivity, and depth of field to present better outcomes without putting patients or healthcare personnel involved in the procedure at risk. The equipment brings overall general satisfaction with enhanced ease of operation, image quality, and robustness to maintain functionality. However, the physicians might face difficulty with maneuverability using the device for diagnostic and therapeutic interventions. 


GlideScope BFlex 

Verathon, a global leader in airway management devices introduced a single-use flexible bronchoscope, GlideScope BFlex in 2019. The device offers optimal visibility and maneuverability for bronchoscopy procedures. The portable and easy-to-use device is ready to use as needed, without any downtime associated with reprocessing or repair. The sterile bronchoscopes are safe and reduce the risk of infections. The healthcare facilities can adapt this device to treat the patients faster and diagnose more patients every day eliminating the reprocessing part altogether. GlideScope BFlex portfolio of single-use bronchoscopes consists of three models with different working channels and insertion tube diameters. Moreover, the GlideScope BFlex system includes Dynamic Light Control that adjusts visibility around the sharp corners and image brightness.



The launch of a premium range of disposable H-SteriScopes ushers a new era in endoscopy that integrates single-use and traditional scopes for a complete and customizable endoscopy operation. Reducing costs related to trauma repairs, ease of compliance with disinfection regulations and reduced risk of cross infections are some of the advantages of single-use disposable bronchoscopes over reusable counterparts. During the COVID-19 pandemic, SUFBs serve as the ideal alternative to create safe work environments. But one of the factors that must be taken into account is the ecological impact of the single-use bronchoscopes as they are made out of plastic. 


According to TechSci research report on “India Bronchoscope Market By Type (Flexible Bronchoscope, Rigid Bronchoscope, Others) By Working Channel Diameter (2.8mm, 2.2mm, 3.0mm, Others) By Usability (Reusable v/s Disposable) By Application (Bronchial Diagnosis v/s Bronchial Treatment) By End User (Hospitals & Clinics, Ambulatory Care Centers, Others) By Region, Competition Forecast & Opportunities, FY2027”, India bronchoscope market is anticipated to register a formidable growth during the forecast period. The growth can be attributed to the increasing number of patients suffering from breathing disorders, and the rising number of urbanization practices. Besides, increased pollution due to the toxic environment has led to breathing disorders and created the need for bronchoscopy procedures. 

According to another TechSci research report on “Global Medical Imaging Monitor Market By Device (Mobile, Desktop, All-in-one), By Panel Size (Under-22.9-inch Panels, 23.0–26.9-inch Panels, Above-42-inch Panels), By Type (Diagnostic Monitors, Surgical Monitors, Clinical Monitors, Others), By Display Color (Monochrome v/s Colored), By Purpose (Doppler, Encoding, Others), By Technology (LED-Backlit LCD, OLED, CCFL-Backlit LCD), By Application (Digital Pathology, Radiology, Endoscope, Mammography, Others) By Modality (X-Ray plain film,CT, MRI, Others), By Resolution (Up to 2 MP, 2.1-4 MP, 4.1-8 MP, Above 8 MP), By Grade (Surgical, Diagnostic), By Region, Competition, Forecast & Opportunities, 2025”, the global medical imaging monitor market is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 10% to reach a market value of USD3.06 billion. The growth can be attributed to the rising incidences of diseases and rising demand for healthcare services with growing infrastructure. Moreover, continuous advancements in technologies are further boosting the growth of global medical imaging monitor market during the forecast period. 

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