Reprocessing Intra-cavity ultrasound transducers
Intra-cavity ultrasound transducers must be reprocessed in accordance with manufacturers’ instructions and AS/NZS 4187:2014 Reprocessing of reusable medical devices in health service organizations.
Only purchase medical devices and high level disinfectants entered in the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).
The Australasian Society for Ultrasound in Medicine (ASUM), the peak professional body for medical ultrasound, provides a guideline for reprocessing ultrasound transducers. This guideline provides recommendations for the reprocessing of all ultrasound transducers including:
- transvaginal, transrectal, transoesophageal transducers
- all transducers that are likely to come into contact with broken skin
- all transducers used during ultrasound guided biopsy or injection
- all transducers used in ultrasound guided interventional procedures
- all transducers used within a sterile environment (such as operating theatres).
Each individual Queensland Health Hospital and Health Service is responsible for:
- appropriate reprocessing of intra-cavity ultrasound transducers
- developing a preventative maintenance program
- conducting an annual reprocessing audit and other audits as required by the facility (see supporting documents)
- complying with AS/NZ 4187 (specifically in relation to reprocessing, storage and handling of intra-cavity ultrasound transducers.
Allowing for reprocessing in your service planning
Reprocessing takes time and resources, devices cannot be re-used until they have been properly cleaned and disinfected. To maximise the use of your resources and to minimise delays in delivering your services you should factor reprocessing times into your planning.
- Transducer inventory levels - how many devices, and what kinds of devices are required to meet service requirements and agreed turnaround times?
- Central sterilising department workload implications - what are realistic turnaround times for reprocessing intra - cavity ultrasound transducers?
- Reprocessing method - are there more efficient ways to reprocess? Review your processes at regular intervals.
- Number and types of reprocessors required.
- Transportation methods - make sure you have appropriate transport arrangements in place, when and where you need them, so that you don’t have devices out of circulation for longer than necessary.
- Storage and handling requirements - good practice around storage and handling will reduce the need for repeat reprocessing.