These steps are essential to the overall success of the reprocessing of medical devices, including ultrasound probes.
Cleaning is generally defined as the physical removal of soil (e.g. blood, protein, microorganisms) from the surfaces of devices to prepare them for safe handling and/or further reprocessing.
Cleaning is an important and mandatory first step of reprocessing as it ensures that soil does not interfere with any subsequent disinfection process.
Disinfection is the process by which microorganisms are destroyed in order to prevent transmission to the next patient via a medical device.
It is important to determine the Spaulding Classification of the device which indicates the disinfection level to use. There are different disinfection levels each with a different efficacy spectrum. The Spaulding Classification should be applied to the probe prior to the procedure based on what the probe will contact during use.
Appropriate storage is required to prevent recontamination of reprocessed medical devices. Standard storage conditions such as being clean, dry, away from extreme heat and UV light should be observed.
High level disinfected ultrasound probes should be labelled and stored in single use clean storage covers or in dedicated storage cabinets for optimal protection.
Traceability is the documentation collected to link medical devices and their reprocessing records with patient use.
This process is essential for investigations in the event of reprocessing failures, outbreaks or recalls, and can help facilities manage risk. Traceability is required for semi-critical and critical medical devices that undergo HLD or sterilisation.
Stages of Ultrasound Probe Reprocessing
UK and international guidelines agree on the need for these steps to protect patients from the risks of infection transmission from ultrasound probes. Consult these guidelines for more information on the stages of ultrasound probe reprocessing.