NECESSITY OF VALIDATION OF PROBES BEFORE
The main problem associated with all ultrasound probes is that they have a limited life span or warranty period. Due to their repeated and extended use over a time period, they get damaged easily. An out-of-date ultra sound probe may fail to function to manufacturer's specifications, and can cause health risk to the patient.
There are many reasons for probe damage. Some of them are:
- Drop from hand : leads to crystal damage
- Improper sterilization and disinfection process : leads to de-lamination and oil leak
- Rough handling : causes cable cut, connector damage
The proper functioning of the ultrasound transducer is a key factor for reliable diagnosis by ultrasound. This is highly depends upon the working of the piezoelectric crystals, the wires within the transducer ,matching layer in front of the elements and the backing material behind the elements. Hence they are the internal parts; it is very difficult to identify any damages to the system until the picture quality gets affected. In most cases such damages to the transducers leads to:
· False diagnosis and treatments
· Loss of revenue
· Loss of reputation in market
· Patient safety problems etc
Now days by using advance probe testing technique like first call test, we can test all essential transducer parameters according to FDA regulation. And can easily identify any damages to the elements in the ultrasound transducers. (First call test of an E8C RS probe is available at this think https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DFnP5JjOgJc)
All manufactures provides replacements for defective probes within the warranty period. But they do not provide replacement for physically damaged probes and no any service and repair for warranty expired probes. In most of time the user did not validate their probes on time and the defectiveness in probes remains unidentified. So it is necessary that all clinicians and hospital authority should validate their probe before warranty expires.