Take any medical speciality, and you will find that ultrasound transducers play an integral role in the care plan. Daily contact with the body of different patients leads to everyday wear and tear and in some cases to a complete dysfunction of this highly specialized piece of medical equipment – causing loopholes and hurdles in care delivery, department workflow and even financial implications.
Three main challenges surface when it comes to maintenance of an UltraSound Transducer. Compromises on High-quality Imaging, high costs to bear and logistical challenges. However, there are sure and safe ways in order to ensure that the immediate and tangible impacts are prevented, and the ultrasound department stays up and running at all times.
Having a transducer maintenance program in place, you can be rest assured that your operations will run smoothly, your costs will be managed and contained and you will continue to care for your patients seamlessly.
Like all instruments used in diagnostic testing, ultrasound transducers must be maintained in good operating condition and undergo routine calibration. Servicing these transducers is mandatory at least once a year to avoid problems. Routine inspections and tests must be conducted to ensure electrical safety.
Inspecting the Ultrasound Probe
Even the smallest flaws in an ultrasound probe need to be identified and dealt with. Individual components such as probe connector, cable, strain relief, probe housing, and acoustic lens require thorough inspection, so that the device delivers continuous high performance and accurate diagnosis for patients.
Our experts recommend:
- Looking for bent, broken or missing pins, housing screws, locking knobs and other tiny components
- Checking for cuts, chips, sealing gaps, discoloration, and delamination of the acoustic lens to ensure high imaging quality
- Checking for cuts, tearing and cable separation of strain reliefs
- Inspecting for any other visual signs of damage like gaps in the seals, cracked or broken plastic, discoloration etc
The ultrasound transducer contains several circuit boards, extensive service diagnostics and complex software – and hence requires routine cleaning and maintenance that can only be performed by trained personnel. Unless it is cleaned, its components will be exposed to constant and excessive environmental dust and humidity, which will affect both its reliability and performance.
TEE, EV, ER, and Surgical transducers, that are all inserted into patients, require high-level disinfection after each use. Care should be taken to ensure that only manufacturer-approved agents are used so that no harsh chemicals can cause damage to a transducer.
Care should be taken to:
- Soak the transducer in a liquid agent through use of a Trophon system.
- Not soak the transducer any longer that directed
- Not extended the exposure as chemicals may reduce the longevity of all transducer types
Proper Handling & Care
- Transducers must be kept clean when not in use
- Do not drop them
- The transducer’s nose must not bump into anything that’s hard while been transported from one room to the other
- They must be stored in a drawer that is lined with foam or something soft
- Cables need to be kept straight and not wound up
- Follow manufacturer-approved cleaning/disinfection methods
- Always transport transducers in hard contains with array tip guards
The Preventive Maintenance Checklist
- Comply with disinfection procedures after use
- Never submerge connector in cleaning solution or water
- Store upright in a ventilated area
- Perform visual and physical inspections
- Check for leakage after physical damage
- High level disinfection required when exposed to bodily fluids or contaminants
- Remove probe from service if liquid can enter the internal structures of the probe