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Laryngoscope and Laryngeal Airway Mask Handling

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( CDC) considers laryngoscope blades and laryngeal mask airways (LMAs) to be “semi-critical” equipment.

Semi-critical equipment is defined as items that directly or indirectly into contact with mucous membranes of the respiratory tract. These devices enter a normally non-sterile body part. Therefore, per guidance from the CDC and the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC), facilities must use at least high-level disinfection (HLD) per the manufacturer's instructions for use (IFU) for the individual item. Laryngoscope blades and LMAs must be stored to maintain a level of cleanliness, not sterility. They do not need to be sterilized in a peel pouch. The use of either sterilization or HLD is acceptable depending upon the IFUs for the individual item. Items must be labeled to easily identify that they are ready for use.

If the LMAs are reusable, a tracking system indicating the number of times they may be re-sterilized, according to the IFU, must be in place. Typically, this is no more than ten sterilization cycles. Surveyors will evaluate whether the item is sanitized for the next patient and will verify how many times the re-usable LMA has been re-sterilized. If the laryngoscope blades are found in the anesthesia cart without any identification of having been at a minimum, cleaned with HLD, the facility will be given a citation.

Since 1980, QUAD A (a non-profit, physician-founded and led global accreditation organization) has worked with thousands of healthcare facilities to standardize and improve the quality of healthcare they provide – believing that patient safety should always come first.