Store Ultrasound Probes Safely

The Joint Commission issued guidelines on storage for semi-critical devices in 2013:

“Store the device in a manner that will protect from damage or contamination and that is consistent with national guidelines and manufacturers’ recommendations such as hanging vertically in a cabinet and storing in a clean environment.”

According to the Spaulding Classification , endocavity transducers are semi-critical devices. These transducers include endovaginal, endorectal and transesophageal (TEE) probes.

Here are some key pointers:

DO:

DO SEPARATE CABLES FROM PROBES. Unlike endoscopes, only the probe itself is disinfected. Make sure that the probe’s cable and electrical connector do not come in contact with the probe during handling and storage.

DO HANG VERTICALLY. When not in use, hang probes vertically to aid drying and protect the cable.

DO USE HEPA FILTERS. A storage cabinet with a fan and HEPA filtered air provides positive air pressure and facilitates drying.

DON’T:

DON’T PROMOTE MICROBIAL GROWTH. Plastic bags can promote microbial growth – the probe must be completely dry!

DON’T USE THE CASE.  The original transducer shipping case should not be used for storage once the probe has been used as it can promote recontamination.

DON’T STORE IN UNSAFE AREAS. Avoid storing in areas where cross-contamination or damage to probe can occur.