In a hospital or clinic, few things are more important than cleanliness. Hospitals treat all kinds of patients, including ones with infectious diseases, like COVID-19. Keeping the spread of germs and viruses to an absolute minimum is crucial for the sake of everyone in the building. There are strict guidelines for the disposal of everything in the medical field, especially used items that have biological contagions and fluid on them. Ultrasound machines, like the GE Voluson, perform non-invasive diagnostics, so most of the time they aren’t usually exposed to bodily fluids. The probe does come into contact with different patients on a daily basis, though, so keeping it clean and disinfected is important. We cover how to clean an ultrasound machine, so the technician and patients are all protected and safe from illness.
Choosing a Disinfectant
When choosing a disinfectant for the machine, find out the required level of disinfection based on the device classification. The cleaning products should be as close to neutral pH as possible. Any cleaning or disinfecting products that have a pH higher than five may damage or discolor the probe. If there is any chance of cross-contamination or contact with non-intact skin, then a high-level disinfection might be necessary. Disinfecting wipes and topical sprays that are not FDA approved are not adequate for cleaning and should be avoided.
Cleaning the Probe
After every exam, no matter its scope, the probe should be cleaned thoroughly. Remove any cover or protective devices from the probe and dispose of them properly. Then, disconnect the probe from the ultrasound system to prevent any electrocution. Make sure the acoustic coupling gel is removed from the probe; it should not be left to sit in the gel any longer than necessary. It’s not recommended to use a brush when cleaning the lenses, as the bristles might cause damage. Use a moist, soft cloth to wipe to remove any remaining contaminants on the probe or the cable. Never re-use a cloth, once it is contaminated it should be disposed of immediately.. If rinsing is needed after the cleaning, don’t get the connector wet. Use a lint-free, soft, and clean cloth to dry the probe and cable completely.
Follow the Manufacturer Guidelines
Every ultrasound machine manufacturer will include more detailed cleaning instructions with their machine. Read them completely and follow all instructions to ensure that it’s done in accordance with their rules. Failure to clean the machine properly could result in voiding the warranty, or can cause component failure or even complete system failure.