Why High Level Disinfection is Necessary for Endocavity Ultrasound Probes!

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Webinar Overview

The increasing popularity of ultrasound has become a cornerstone in the diagnosis and treatment of patients in Obstetrics, Gynaecology and Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART), particularly in monitoring ovarian response and follicle growth during IVF. As with any reusable medical device, to achieve the full ultrasound benefits in patient care, medical teams need to consider the contamination risk of reusing endocavity ultrasound probes (transducers) between patients as a vector for pathogen transmission. If the incorrect level of disinfection is applied after each endocavity ultrasound probe use, it poses a safety risk as infectious pathogens (viruses, bacteria and fungi) may be transmitted between patients.

 A common misconception among some medical staff is that an endocavity probe, covered with a single-use sheath combined with low-level disinfection, would provide sufficient protection against pathogen transmission. What they don’t realise is that single-use sheaths are inadequate to prevent contamination of a probe and that low-level disinfection does not kill certain viruses, bacteria or fungi. Furthermore, the use of wipes (low-level disinfection) increases the likelihood of pathogen transmission as they can spread highly infectious pathogens across the surface of the probe from the tip over the handle to parts of the cable, leading to patient-to-patient transmission.

Learning Objectives

  • How to apply the Spaulding Classification to determine the minimum level of disinfection for reprocessing reusable ultrasound probes.
  • Insights into evidence-based research that shows the risk of infection transmission associated with endocavity probes.
  • Overview of outbreaks, case reports and hospital recall for patients exposed to infectious transmissions from probes.
  • Learn about the global standard of practice for reprocessing endocavity probes, including the Joint Commission International (JCI) and other equivalent organization’s accreditation requirements.

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Presenter: Prof. David Weber: MD, MPH, FIDSA, FSHEA, FRSM (London).

Sanders Distinguished Professor of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases; Professor of Pediatrics, UNC School of Medicine; Professor of Epidemiology, Gillings School of Global Public Health; Medical Director, UNC Hospitals’ Departments of Hospital Epidemiology (Infection Prevention); Associate Chief Medical Officer, UNC Health Care
Prof. David Weber is board certified in internal medicine, infectious diseases, critical care medicine, and preventative medicine. His research career has focused on healthcare-associated infections, antibiotic stewardship, new and emerging diseases, and vaccine implementation.  He has published >470 peer-reviewed scientific papers.

Webinar Q&A

Q1: If the probe cover does not tear do I still need to disinfect the probe before the next patient?

Q2: My manager recently implemented a new automated disinfection system, not just because it was quicker but rigorously tested against HPV? What evidence do you need to prove a system has been tested against HPV?

Q3: If I clean and HLD the probe and achieve over a 6.5 log reduction, why do I need a probe cover. I get a better image/clarity without it and would save time?


Webinar Highlights

Webinar Q&A Starts at Q4

Q4: Thoughts on the use of wipes for HLD? (manual vs automation)

Q5: What is the correct method to clean and wipe the probe? Any specific way of cleaning? And difference between cleaning and disinfection?

Q6: Thank you Dr Weber for the wonderful talk! Question: do cancer patients have a higher risk of being infected by HPV from a dirty probe compared to normal patients?

Webinar Short Videos

  • Why High Level Disinfection of Endocavity Probes is Necessary!


  • Swiss Cheese Model of Medical Errors: Discuss 3 Critical Steps to Reduce Contamination Risk. 


  • Spaulding Classification – Overview


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