In our previous article, Ultrasound Endocavity Probe Cleaning 101, we discussed how to get your ultrasound endocavity transducer free of foreign material and ready for high-level disinfection. If you haven’t read that article yet, we recommend that you take a moment to read it, as properly clearing the transducer, or probe, of foreign material is just as important as the disinfection.
How to Determine What Level of Disinfection is Needed
The probe’s type of usage will determine the level of disinfection that is required:
Non-critical: Surface probes that are used on intact skin, like breast or abdomen probes, do not carry much risk and only require a low-level disinfection. The caveat to that is if a biopsy is being performed, the risk increases, therefore the probe should receive a high-level disinfection.*
Semi-critical: Transrectal, transvaginal, and transesophageal (or TEE) probes should be high-level disinfected between patients.
Critical: Probes used in the vascular system or sterile body cavities require sterilization, usually by an autoclave or steam sterilization. As ultrasound probes are heat-sensitive, they may be reprocessed by soaking them in a high-level disinfectant, or using hydrogen peroxide gas plasma or vaporized hydrogen peroxide.
*If the abdominal or breast ultrasound is performed on a high-risk patient or on non-intact skin, we suggest a high-level disinfection.
2. What to Look For in a High-Level Disinfectant
There are many factors when deciding what disinfectant to choose. We’ve listed them here for your convenience and to point out ones you may not have considered. For reference, view the list of FDA-cleared sterilants and high-level disinfectants.
Is the disinfectant FDA-cleared?
What is the cost per cycle? - This is often overlooked while checking out new disinfectants.
What is the duration of time to disinfect? - This can vary from 7 to 45 minutes.
What is the re-use period? - Many disinfectants have a re-use period that can range from 14 to 28 days.
What are the ventilation requirements? - Review your material safety data sheet (or MSDS)
Are there any contraindications?
Is the transducer compatible?
What are the rinsing requirements?
3. Determining How Many Rinses are Needed
Following the high-level disinfection, be sure to look for the rinsing instructions for your specific disinfectant, as it may require just a single rinse, or it may need multiple rinses.
We understand the care you take to ensure your ultrasound equipment is operating at optimal performance. Whether you need fast ultrasound system repair or probe repair, are shopping for used/refurbished ultrasound equipment, or are considering the purchase of new ultrasound equipment, we’ve got you covered, with a national 24/7 network of ultrasound experts and honest advice, just a phone call away. Wherever you are and whatever ultrasound system you use, you can rely on us to Keep Your Image Up™.
SonoDepot Founder and President Floyd McAuliffe, along with his brother, CEO Jack McAuliffe, are the trailblazers of OEM-Independent Ultrasound Repair and Support. Their company has provided superior ultrasound equipment services to healthcare providers across the U.S. since 1985. Headquartered in Central Florida with nationwide service, SonoDepot is a sales and service provider for the revolutionary Alpinion Ultrasound product line featuring the E-CUBE series. The company also proudly repairs, services and sells both new and refurbished equipment of the industry's most respected ultrasound brands including Philips, GE, Siemens, HP, Toshiba, Acuson, Alpinion, SonoSite and ATL. SonoDepot’s services include on-site ultrasound repair, used ultrasound sales, new ultrasound sales, transducer repair, probe evaluation, ultrasound maintenance and ultrasound service contracts. With a rapid 15-30 minute response time and 24/7 nationwide service, SonoDepot is focused on providing superior service to their valued customers. In fact, 90% of SonoDepot's ultrasound repair clients are repeat customers who also refer their colleagues.