Ultrasound probe care is important because the better the condition of a transducer, the better the outcome and the safer it is for the patient. Proper care will also reduce failures, which means more cost savings for the facility and more uptime for scanning and better-quality patient care. At Probo Medical, we provide advice on how to care for your ultrasound probe, how to handle probes while disinfecting and cleaning, and on how to determine the disinfectors and cleaners you should be using!

Ultrasound Transducer Care

An important element of ultrasound probe care is cleaning and disinfecting. Depending on the probe and how it’s being used, there is low-level disinfecting and high-level disinfecting. Generally, standard surface transducers are cleaned or low level disinfected after each study. Any transducer inserted into a patient in any manner should be high level disinfected after each study.

Ultrasound Transducer Care

Which Disinfectant is Right for my Ultrasound Probe?

Which cleaning or disinfecting agent is right for your probe? The only way to know which chemical or process is correct for your equipment is to check with the manufacturer. The information can most likely be found on the user manual and online resources.

Do not assume because a cleaning agent’s packaging says it’s safe for transducers that it means it is safe for all transducers. Or, that because one transducer from a manufacturer can use a particular agent, that all of them can. You want to check each transducer for compatibility. Additionally, you must balance your decision with your infection control personnel and what they want to be used.

How to Disinfect Your Ultrasound Probe

When it comes to using a cleaning agent for low-level disinfecting, use it as directed by the packaging. Or, how your infection control personnel direct as proper usage.

All transducers that are inserted into a patient, such as TEE, EV, ER, Surgical, etc. should be high-level disinfected after each use. Use of manufacture approved agents is even more important since these chemicals are far harsher and can damage a transducer much faster.

High-level disinfecting is accomplished through soaking the transducer in a liquid agent or through use of a Trophon system. For all disinfection, but particularly high-level disinfection, you should not soak a transducer any longer than it directs you. Extended exposure to the chemicals will reduce the longevity of all transducer types.

How to Handle Your Ultrasound Transducer

Rules that apply to all transducers when it comes to handling and care:

  • Keep transducers clean when not being used
  • Properly secure transducers when not being used
  • Do not drop transducers
  • Do not allow the transducer nose to bump into anything that’s hard
    • Very important when transporting from one room to another
    • Transducers that are stored in a drawer often bump the back side of the drawer. This should be lined with foam or something soft.
  • Keep cables straight and not wound up
  • Always use approved cleaning/disinfection methods
  • TEE transducers should be transported in hard containers with array tip guards

Common Transducer Care Mistakes

  1. A Curling Transducer Cable

If this goes uncorrected, it will form memory and will not straighten out. Doing so will eventually cause the transducer to need a new cable and can result in image quality issues.

  1. Improper Security

An example of improper security is being connected to a unit while soaking in Cidex. If the transducer has a hole, it will likely ruin the transducer. Scenarios like this can cause nearly an unlimited of number bad things to happen. Including splashing Cidex everywhere if the transducer is flipped out because the system is moved.

  1. Improper Storage

An example of improper storage is storing a transducer in the sink after rinsing the Cidex off. If the transducer array strikes the side of the sink it will be damaged. This could happen by bumping the handle and shoving the transducer forward. It is a perfect example of how an uncommon incident can translate into an expensive repair.

  1. Missing the funnel that holds the transducer suspended in the Cidex

If this is true, it means that the transducer is resting on its nose (array). Meaning the transducer is one slip away from having a damaged away. Damage may only take a drop of a few inches.

  1. Probe’s membrane has holes all over it and is sponge-like feeling

A membrane that has a sponge-like feeling is most likely a result of using a non-approved cleaner.

improper storage

How Probo Medical Can Help

If you need a new or refurbished ultrasound probe, give us a call at 866-513-8322 or email us at sales@probomedical.com and one of our knowledgeable ultrasound transducer sales specialists will be happy to answer your questions!

About the Author

Brian Gill is Probo Medical’s Vice President of Marketing. He has been in the ultrasound industry since 1999. From sales to service to customer support, he has done everything from circuit board repair and on-site service to networking and PACS, to training clinicians on ultrasound equipment. Through the years, Brian has trained more than 500 clinicians on over 100 different ultrasound machines. Currently, Brian is known as the industry expert in evaluating ultrasounds and training users on all makes and models of ultrasound equipment, this includes consulting with manufacturers with equipment evaluations during all stages of product development.