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With the current COVID pandemic: should we use single-use flexible bronchoscopes instead of conventional bronchoscopes?

We would like to describe the numerous advantages of single-use bronchoscopes over conventional bronchoscopes especially during the COVID pandemic. Recently, Zaidi et al. did a comparative study between single-use and conventional bronchoscopes for bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) [1]. They concluded that with single-use bronchoscopes, they achieved a larger BAL volume yield than conventional bronchoscopes, with comparable cell yield and viability [1]. Better volume yields may potentially reduce post-procedure side effects such as pleuritic chest pain and cough. With single-use devices, the risk of cross infection is eliminated, providing reassurance to researchers and participants [2]. This single-use flexible bronchoscope can be reusable for the same patient and should be stored in his isolate room [2]. Reduced maintenance requirements can be cost effective [3]. In addition, single-use flexible bronchoscopes have been evaluated in the critical care setting with favorable results for BAL, percutaneous tracheostomy, intubation, and suction [4]. Regarding the important question of cost, a recent study suggests benefits from the use of single-use flexible bronchoscopes in terms of cost effectiveness, cross-contamination, and resource utilization [3]. Single-use flexible bronchoscopes could be very useful in the setting of the current coronavirus pandemic. We have already started using them.

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Bronchoalveolar lavage


Intensive care unit


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We would like to thank Dr. Melissa Jackson for the critical review of the manuscript.



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PMH, SR, and DDB designed the paper. All authors participated in drafting and reviewing. All authors read and approved the final version of the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Patrick M. Honore.

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Honore, P.M., Mugisha, A., Kugener, L. et al. With the current COVID pandemic: should we use single-use flexible bronchoscopes instead of conventional bronchoscopes?. Crit Care 24, 234 (2020).

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