Cedars-Sinai probing whether superbug infections are tied to scopes

Superbugs: Cedars-Sinai halts elective ERCP procedures while it investigates infections

Cedars-Sinai Medical Center said it's investigating whether patients with superbug infections are linked to contaminated medical scopes, similar to a recent outbreak at UCLA.

The well-known Los Angeles hospital said it hasn't determined whether the CRE infections it has found are tied to duodenoscopes, which were the source of exposure at UCLA's Ronald Reagan Medical Center.

"There is not enough information to indicate any conclusive links at Cedars-Sinai between duodenoscopes and CRE transmission," the hospital said in a statement.

The hospital's review is ongoing and it did notify L.A. County health officials. The hospital declined to specify a number of cases.

In the wake of several outbreaks across the country, many hospitals have been reassessing their cleaning practices for scopes used in a procedure known as ERCP, or endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography.

Cedars said it launched a comprehensive review after the UCLA outbreak became public Feb. 18. As a precaution, the hospital said it has postponed all elective ERCP procedures.

For patients with a more urgent need, the hospital said, physicians will discuss with the patient "the current unresolved national questions regarding duodenoscopes and CRE."

Cedars said it has also adopted additional safety measures, including enhanced monitoring of scopes before and after procedures.

Hospital patients can become infected with CRE in a number of different ways or bring it with them into the hospital in some cases. Many hospitals have increased surveillance and testing of patients to better determine the source after the high-profile incidents.

CRE, which stands for carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, is highly resistant to antibiotics and can kill up to 50% of infected patients.

In addition to receiving a report about Cedars, the California Department of Public Health said it had one reported CRE case at Goldstar Nursing and Rehabilitation Center of Santa Monica.

A representative of the facility couldn't immediately be reached for comment.

At UCLA, two patients have died and five more became infected with CRE. The university notified an additional 179 patients that they may have been exposed by a tainted scope from Oct. 3 to Jan. 28.

Let us know if you have been affected by the outbreak at UCLA

Twitter: @chadterhune

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