Ultrasound Preventative Maintenance
Ultrasound preventative maintenance sounds like a very basic topic to cover. However, throughout my travels, I have seen many PMs performed or examined systems post-PM and found the service to be inadequate. To properly perform an ultrasound PM, several steps have to be completed to ensure that you are preventing future repairs or reducing downtime in the event a repair is needed.
When beginning a PM, the first step is to interview the sonographer to find out how the system is performing and if there are corrective actions needed during your visit. This allows the technologist to be engaged with you and the service you are providing. It also prevents a call the next day to ask you to return and repair something that you could have completed during the PM.
Next, you want to thoroughly clean the system inside and out. Today’s ultrasound systems are more sensitive to heat than ever before and cleaning filters, intake grills and air passages is critical to preventing future failures. The filters on all contemporary systems should be cleaned on a regular basis with the environment dictating the frequency. Once you remove the filters, check the grate behind them to ensure it is clean as well. This is especially important on the GE Logiq/Vivid E9 as dust buildup occurs on the fan tray screen inside the scanner card cage.
Next, you need to complete a full system backup. This is a critical step to mitigate downtime in the eventuality that the system fails because of software issues. By making a complete backup of presets, network data, options and other user preferences, you can fully restore a system in a couple of hours versus many hours or even days.
On to the transducers, begin by inspecting the pins on the probe connector. Bent pins can damage the probe connector board on the system which then may damage another probe when it is plugged into that board. This can have a cascade effect throughout a department as damaged probes are moved around and damaged connector boards continue to bend pins on other probes. You also want to determine the solution the sonographer is using to clean and disinfect the probe to make sure it is compatible with the manufacturer’s recommendations.
There are many steps to performing a quality PM on an ultrasound system that should be completed; I have outlined a few critical ones when concerning true preventative and downtime mitigating measures.