High Level Disinfection
When and Why?
Know what disinfection to apply is based on the Spaulding Classification
Under the Spaulding classification the ultrasound probe is classified into non-critical probe, semi-critical probe and critical probe, determined by how the probe comes in contact with the patient’s procedure site and the level of cross-infection risk.1-6
- Non-critical probe is low level disinfected or intermediate level disinfection as the probe contacts intact skin or non-infected skin and the potential cross-infection risk is low.
- Semi-critical probe is high level disinfected as the probe may contact non-intact skin (wound or burn) or mucus membrane and the potential risk of cross-infection is considered medium to high.
- Critical probe should be sterilised, if not possible can be high level disinfected and placed inside a sterile cover to prevent the contamination of a sterile field. The potential risk of cross-infection is considered high.
- Sterilisation: All viable microorganisms must be killed.
- High level disinfectants: All viable microorganisms must be killed, except a small number of bacterial spores.
- Intermediate level disinfectants: kill vegetative bacteria, mycobacteria, most viruses and most fungi, but do not kill bacterial spores.
- Low level disinfectants: Destroy vegetative bacteria, except Mycobacteria, fungi, non-enveloped viruses and bacterial spores.
- ACIPC-ASUM. Guidelines for Reprocessing Ultrasound Transducers. Australasian Journal of Ultrasound in Medicine. 2017;20(1):30-40.
- Standards Australia/Standards New Zealand. AS/NZS 4187:2014 Reprocessing of reusable medical devices in health service organizations (superseding AS/NZS 4187:2003). Standards Australia; 2014.
- Therapeutic Good Administration (168TGA) 1998. Guidelines for the evaluation of sterilants and disinfectants. Available at: https://www.tga.gov.au/sites/default/files/disinfectants-evaluation-guidelines.pdf
- National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC). Australian Guidelines for the Prevention and Control of Infection in Healthcare. Canberra, Australia: NHMRC; 2019.
- Kollmann, C. and K. Salvesen (2017). “Best Practice recommendations for cleaning and disinfection of ultrasound transducers whilst maintaining transducer integrity.” European Committee for Medical Ultrasound Safety (ECMUS).
- JACQUES S. et al. (2017) GUIDELINES FOR CLEANING TRANSVAGINAL ULTRASOUND TRANSDUCERS BETWEEN PATIENTS World Federation for Ultrasound in Medicine & Biology