New guidelines may affect you...
You may be aware of the new national Guidelines for Reprocessing Ultrasound Transducers recently issued in Australia by the Australasian Society for Ultrasound in Medicine (ASUM), jointly with the Australasian College for Infection Prevention and Control (ACIPC).
The new guidelines place emphasis on applying HLD not just to intracavity probes, but also to all surface probes used in semi-critical procedures. They state that “If the transducer comes in direct contact with non-intact skin, blood or mucous membranes transducers should be cleaned [and undergo] HLD”.
This development in Australia is part of a growing international trend in recognising the risks associated with potential cross contamination of ultrasound transducers and the importance of implementing strict controls to mitigate these risks.
The World Federation for Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology (WFUMB) have also just released their Guidelines for cleaning transvaginal ultrasound transducers between patients, which recommend HLD for semi-critical probes (including surface probes that contact non-intact skin).
A Call to Action
This topic is also very much in the spotlight in the United States, with the recent publication of a Call to Action by Infection Control Today on ultrasound probe infection risk. They commissioned a survey late last year of over 100 infection preventionists, to gain a better understanding of their awareness of ultrasound-related infection risk and reprocessing requirements. A roundtable with 8 leading infection prevention clinical experts was also convened to gain further insight.
The resulting Call to Action highlights that immediate action is needed to bridge gaps in awareness about ultrasound probe reprocessing requirements and to enhance education.