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Health technology assessment on reprocessing single-use catheters for cardiac electrophysiology: results of a three-years study.

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Department of Physics, University of Trento, 38050, Povo, Trento, Italy.


The study aims to define the technical, ethical, juridical and economic issues involved in the assessment of a reprocessing policy for single-use interventional cardiac devices (SUDs). The feasibility of reprocessing was evaluated for cardiac electrophysiology catheters by comparing the chemical, physical and functional properties of new and reprocessed devices. The issue of hygiene was addressed by developing microbiological tests for the quantification of bioburden, sterility and pyrogenic load. The results of more than 1500 tests, conducted on 531 catheters, suggested a precautionary number of regenerations of five cycles. The ethical aspects were reviewed and the European juridical framework was assessed, revealing a need for harmonization. Applying a specific economic model, potential savings were calculated for a representative cardiology department and estimated at national and European level. Potential savings of 41.2% and 32.9% were calculated for diagnostic and ablation catheters, respectively. Safe and effective reprocessing of SUDs could be pursued if quality control processes and certified procedures are met. A reprocessing policy in EP laboratory could lead to savings of about 27,250 euros per 100,000 population, but the economic benefits are strongly dependent on the maximum number of regenerations and the regeneration rate.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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