Wednesday 10 May 2017


The risk of microbial transmission during ultrasound examination procedures by increased with the use of intracavity transducers and /or where blood and body fluids are encountered.

Standard precautions should be taken to minimise the risk of cross-infection.

  •  Hand hygiene before and after each examination
  •  Use of personal protective equipment 
  •  Maintenance of clean and/or disinfected patient equipment
  •  Maintenance of clean working environment
  •  Correct disposal of waste
Classification of infection risk


These items confer a high risk for infection if they are contaminated with any microorganism and must be sterile at the time of use.


These items come into contact with mucous membranes or non-intact skin, and should be single use or sterilised after each use.High level disinfection is also acceptable


These items come into contact with intact skin but not mucous membranes.Clean or low level disinfection is sufficient for most non-critical items after each individual use.

Cleaning and disinfection

  •  All transducers that are likely to come into contact with broken skin
  •  All intracavitary transducers (for example, transvaginal, transrectal, transoesophageal)
  •  All transducers used during ultrasound-guided biopsy or infiltration
  •  All transducers used in ultrasound-guided interventional procedures
  •  All transducers used within a sterile environment (such as operating theatres)


To minimise cross infection the following is required:

1.Hand hygiene

  • Hand hygiene must be performed before and after each patient contact.

2. Cleaning of the ultrasound transducer

  • After each use, remove coupling gel from probe by wiping with a soft cloth and wash the probe with surface in lukewarm water and mild detergent with a soft sponge, gauze or cloth, removing all visible residue. 
  • Do not use harsh detergents or abrasive cleaners.
  • Rinse thoroughly in flowing water to remove all detergent residues. 
  • Air dry or dry with a soft cloth.
3. Patients with wounds and/or abrasions

  • A disposable transducer cover should be used.
  • In event of blood or bodily fluid contamination, the protocol for probes used for intracavity ultrasound applies.


In general, intracavity ultrasound poses an increased risk of cross-infection compared to transabdominal scanning.
The following scanning procedures carry significant risk of cross infection due to contact with mucous membranes and/or blood or body fluids.

  • Transvaginal
  • Transrectal
  • Intracavity and wound
  • Transoesophageal

To minimise cross infection the following is required:

  1. Hand hygiene
  2. transducer cover
  3. Cleaning

Disinfection of the intracavity ultrasound transducer

  • high-level instrument grade disinfectants for class are to be used for intracavitaryultrasound transducers and these include
  • Ortho-phthalaldehyde (OPA) 0.55%
  • Gluteraldehyde 2%
  • Hydrogen Peroxide, used with the Trophon EPR System
  • Peracetic Acid, as in STERIS system
  • Chlorine Dioxide, used with the Tristel wipes system

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