Both single-use and reusable bronchoscopes are suitable for percutaneous dilatational tracheostomy (PDT) to visualise the trachea during the insertion process. To determine the least costly option, the price of single-use bronchoscopes must be weighed against the estimated average cost of a bronchoscopy with reusable equipment. In the latter case, the acquisition cost must be spread over the equipment’s useful life and other relevant costs, such as reprocessing and repair, must be included.
This study aimed to calculate the cost of using single-use or reusable bronchoscopes per PDT procedure.
A systematic literature search was conducted to identify studies comparing the costs of reusable and single-use bronchoscopes for PDT. Inclusion criteria were articles assessing the cost of single-use or reusable bronchoscopes, and where costs were divided into acquisition, reprocessing, and repair costs. A questionnaire regarding repair rates and costs for reusable bronchoscopes was sent to 366 hospitals in the US, UK, and Germany to supplement the identified literature.
Eleven studies met the inclusion criteria. Ninety-nine completed responses were received, of which 31 hospitals used reusable equipment for PDT. Literature research revealed an average acquisition cost of $US135 (SD 152) and reprocessing cost of $US123 (SD 128). Additionally, a combination of data from the literature and the questionnaires gave a repair cost per use of $US148 (SD 242), resulting in a total average cost of $US406 for reusable bronchoscopes and $US249 (SD 36) for single-use bronchoscopes per PDT procedure. Thus, the incremental cost per use of a reusable bronchoscope compared with a single-use bronchoscope was $US157.
We conclude that significant savings can be made by using single-use bronchoscopes to guide PDT in preference to reusable bronchoscopes. Results depend on hospital setting, the reprocessing procedures, annual bronchoscope procedures, individual repair cost, and repair rates.