In Digestive endoscopy : official journal of the Japan Gastroenterological Endoscopy Society ; h5-index 0.0
Flexible endoscopes became generally available 50 years ago and created a revolution in the practice of gastroenterology. They enormously improved diagnosis, enabled quicker, less invasive, and more cost-effective surgical treatment, whilst endoscopic screening has prevented many cancer deaths. The new technology stimulated research leading to a better understanding of gastrointestinal pathology, identifying new diseases and clarifying the etiology of others. Better-controlled clinical trials accelerated the use of newer and more effective drugs. National and international endoscopy societies supported nursing input, encouraged research, stimulated specialist journals, and devised guidelines that encouraged audit and quality assurance. Advances in instrument design and the manufacture of new accessories enhanced endoscopic technique, diagnostic ability, patient comfort, and safety. The risk of cross-infection inherent in the use of complex labile equipment that cannot be autoclaved remains a challenge. Endoscopy societies working closely with industry have established rigid protocols for high level disinfection that minimize the risks, but strict adherence to guidelines and continued vigilance is essential especially with the increasing prevalence of antibiotic-resistant commensals that can give rise to opportunistic infection. Government health departments have a responsibility to encourage and support research in this area by endoscopists, instrument manufacturers, and the pharmaceutical industry. Current trends suggest that in the future, artificial intelligence will greatly improve endoscopic diagnosis, and that therapeutic endoscopy will expand, encouraging endoscopists to subspecialize.
Thomas Roger Axon Anthony