How to Safely Store Your Ultrasound Probes
The Joint Commission (TJC) has defined guidelines on storage for semi-critical devices:
"The endoscope should be hung vertically with the distal tip hanging freely in a well-ventilated, clean area, following the endoscope manufacturer's written IFU for storage...Store endoscopes in a manner that will protect them from damage or contamination."
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 to adequately store these semi-critical devices to maintain Joint Commission compliance:
- KEEP CABLES SEPARATE FROM PROBES: During high-level disinfection, 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, as the probe could become recontaminated.
- HANG PROBES VERTICALLY: When not in use, hang probes vertically to aid drying, protect the cable, and keep the probe and cable separated.
- USE HEPA FILTERS: A storage cabinet with a fan and HEPA filtered air provides positive air pressure and facilitates drying. Make sure to regularly change the filters, based on the manufacturer's recommendation.
- DON'T USE PLASTIC BAGS: Using plastic bags to transport or store probes can promote microbial growth - the probe must be completely dry! Plastic covers do not protect the probes from damage such as bumps, cable tangles, falls, etc. The distal tip of a probe is very fragile!
- DON'T USE THE PROBE'S 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 the probes in areas where cross-contamination or damage can occur.
CIVCO storage cabinets for endocavity or transesophageal probes help you stay compliant with The Joint Commission's guidelines.
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