High Level Disinfection

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 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.

Disinfection Levels

  • Sterilisation All viable microorganisms must be destroyed
  • High level disinfectants: All viable microorganisms must be destroyed,  except a small number bacterial spores
  • Low level disinfectants: Destroy vegetative bacteria, except Mycobacteria, fungi and non-enveloped viruses.
  1. ACIPC-ASUM. Guidelines for Reprocessing Ultrasound Transducers. Australasian Journal of Ultrasound in Medicine. 2017;20(1):30-40.
  2. 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.
  3. 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
  4. National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC). Australian Guidelines for the Prevention and Control of Infection in Healthcare. Canberra, Australia: NHMRC; 2019.
  5. 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).
  6. JACQUES S. et al. (2017) GUIDELINES FOR CLEANING TRANSVAGINAL ULTRASOUND TRANSDUCERS BETWEEN PATIENTS World Federation for Ultrasound in Medicine & Biology
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