Ultrasound Transducer Probe Troubleshooting Tips
Even the most technologically advanced machines are prone to wear and breakdowns. Like any machine, they require routine maintenance and attention to ensure they perform their best. State-of-the-art machines, such as the GE Logiq E9, are only as good as the sum of their parts. If the probe malfunctions, it can affect the rest of the machine and can provide skewed results. A damaged transducer probe can lead to misdiagnosis, and can lead to danger for the patient and possibly the sonographer. Here are some guidelines for ultrasound transducer troubleshooting to help you see the signs and keep your machine operating well.
Lines in the Image Area
Black lines in the image area are not normal, and they’re a sign that something is wrong with the probe. Also known as “dropout”, these lines happen when one of the piezoelectric crystals stops sending and receiving signals. Dropouts start small, and they can appear to the side of the screen. These lines are relatively harmless, but they’re the first sign something is wrong. If you get to a point where the lines are thick and obscure the image, the chance for missing something important increases because you can’t see it. Have the probe serviced immediately.
The probe lens is small, but it’s still prone to pinholes, pitted surface areas and delamination. These pinholes may not be visible at first, but over time, they will become more prominent. Delamination can affect picture quality, which makes the viewing area harder to see and diagnose. These types of wear can also harbor bacteria and expose other patients to disease.
Cable Sheath Damage
If there are cracks and damage to the plastic sheath on the cable, do not dismiss it. Running over the cable with the ultrasound’s wheels and chair legs cause tears to happen. Overlooking damage to cables can lead to safety issues, as electricity runs through them. Touching the exposed metal can potentially shock the tech and patient.
Torn Strain Relief
The strain relief is the area where the cable meets the probe. Damage to this part is similar to damage to the cable sheath. It’s easy to spot because that portion of the probe is handled the most. Once separation from the probe occurs, exposure of the cable can lead to damage. It may seem like a superficial problem, but the more the cables become exposed, the more open to failure the probe is.