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Why High-Level Disinfection Is Necessary For Endocavity Ultrasound Probes

Presenter: Prof. David Weber: MD

As with any reusable medical device, to achieve the full ultrasound benefits in patient care, medical teams need to consider the contamination risk of reusing endocavity ultrasound probes (transducers) between patients as a vector for pathogen transmission. If the incorrect level of disinfection is applied after each endocavity ultrasound probe use, it poses a safety risk as infectious pathogens (viruses, bacteria and fungi) may be transmitted between patients.

 A common misconception among some medical staff is that an endocavity probe, covered with a single-use sheath combined with low-level disinfection, would provide sufficient protection against pathogen transmission. What they don’t realise is that single-use sheaths are inadequate to prevent contamination of a probe and that low-level disinfection does not kill certain viruses, bacteria or fungi. Furthermore, the use of wipes (low-level disinfection) increases the likelihood of pathogen transmission as they can spread highly infectious pathogens across the surface of the probe from the tip over the handle to parts of the cable, leading to patient-to-patient transmission.