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Infection Control for Equipment Cleaning & Disinfection

SUBJECT: Infection Control for Equipment Cleaning and Disinfection    

SECTION: Radiology Ultrasound

ORIGINATOR:  Deborah L. Richert, BSVT, RDMS, RVT

REVIEW DATE: September 13, 2013

Policy: The ultrasound transducers and machines, ultrasound patient exam carts, supply carts, and exam room counter tops will be cleaned and/or disinfected per the protocol stated in this policy in order to provide infection control for the safety of patients and staff.


  1. If any of the equipment mentioned above comes in contact with blood and/or body fluids it is cleaned as soon as the ultrasound exam is finished with an appropriate disinfectant such as "Accel TB." Please refer to the Gundersen Lutheran policy on Isolation Precautions and/or the user’s manual for the appropriate ultrasound machine. 
  2. A clean paper or cloth sheet for each ultrasound exam covers the ultrasound patient exam carts and pillows. The pillowcases are changed after patient contact and / or as needed. The ultrasound patient exam carts are cleaned after each patient and/or as needed with an appropriate cleaning solution such as "Accel TB" disinfectant solution.
  3. Any soiled linen that is used is placed in a hamper located in the ultrasound department.
  4. The housekeeping staff cleans the exam room counter tops and floors at the end of each workday. The garbage is emptied from each ultrasound room by the housekeeping staff at the end of each workday.
  5. The ultrasound supply carts and ultrasound machines are cleaned with an appropriate cleaner such as "Accel TB" and/or disinfectant cleansing wipes after each patient and/or as needed.
  6. At the end of the ultrasound exam the gel is wiped off the patient and the ultrasound transducer. The ultrasound transducer is then cleaned with a cleaner that is approved by the manufacturer of the ultrasound equipment such as disinfectant wipes. (See #7 regarding cleaning and disinfection of endocavitary ultrasound transducers). During sterile procedures the ultrasound transducer is covered with a sterile transducer cover and cleaned at the end of the procedure as stated above. When scanning a patient with an open wound or sore, a transducer cover and/or sterile gel may be necessary and the transducer appropriately disinfected after use.
  7. If an endocavitary exam is performed the following procedure is used:  The transducer is covered with a commercial probe cover. The sonographer performing the endocavitary exam is appropriately gloved during the exam and the transducer cleaning process. The probe cover is carefully removed from the transducer at the end of the exam, so as not to contaminate the probe with patient secretions, and thrown away. Any gel remaining on the transducer after removal of the cover is wiped off with a damp paper towel. Cotton swabs and/or a soft brush may be used to clean transducer crevices. The transducer is then placed in a disinfectant solution such as Metricide OPA for a minimum of 12 minutes. After soaking the transducer is thoroughly rinsed and then dried with a paper towel.
  8. Please note that these are ultrasound-department-specific guidelines to be followed and that all employees will follow the Gundersen policies for universal precautions and infection control as required.
  9. The GE ultrasound machine transducer cleaning guide is as follows:
    • Note: Prevent disease transmission by properly cleaning & disinfecting transducer surfaces (between patients) that come in contact with body tissue.
    • Refer to the APIC Guidelines for Selection & Use of Disinfectants.
    • Always use sterile, legally marketed transducer sheaths for intra-cavitary, intra-operative and biopsy procedures.
    • GE does not substantiate the claims of infection control capabilities of recommended germicides.
    • Strictly follow the germicide manufacturer’s instructions for duration of contact time.
    • Failure to do so may result in ineffective decontamination, as well as, severe lens damage & transducer failure not covered under the GE product warranty.
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