The process of high-level disinfecting transesophageal (TEE) probes has unique challenges compared to disinfecting endocavity probes. Below are some of the key tips to remember when disinfecting TEE transducers.
1. TEE PROBES ARE DELICATE (AND EXPENSIVE)
The long insertion tube can be difficult to disinfect because of its length and thus vulnerable to damage. Even a small bump to the distal tip can damage the probe. You should take extra caution when handling the probe – whether it’s rinsing, transporting, or storing.
2. PROBE COVERS ARE RECOMMENDED
Per FDA guidance documents, a probe cover or sheath is required every time a probe is used in a semi-critical application. Many leading ultrasound system manufacturers recommend use of a probe cover for their ultrasound transducers. Philips recommends a sterile sheath in addition to patient bite blocks.
3. PRECISE SOAKING TIME PROTECTS THE PROBE
When disinfecting your TEE probes using a manual disinfection process, it’s imperative to soak the probe only for the time advised by the high-level disinfectant solution manufacturer. Over-soaking the probe can be corrosive and possibly damage the probe.
4. ENSURE ADEQUATE RINSING
Be sure to rinse the TEE probe properly after soaking. Some disinfectants are more difficult to rinse off the probe. For example, when using an aldehyde-based disinfectant, you need to rinse the TEE probe thoroughly, e.g. 3 separate large volume rinses.
5. AUTOMATED DISINFECTION IS A SIMPLIFIED OPTION TO PROBE CLEANING
Automated high-level disinfection cleans the TEE probe with greater efficiency than a manual disinfection process. CIVCO’s ASTRA TEE® allows disinfection of two probes at once, automates the soak and rinsing steps, and provides a fully automated disinfection log for streamlined compliance.
6. PRE-CLEANING THE TEE PROBE AIDS THE DISINIFECTION PROCESS
Whether you utilize an automated or manual process to disinfect your TEE probes, you must pre-clean your devices properly. First pre-clean at bedside and then clean the probe using an enzymatic detergent or according to your probe manufacturer’s Instructions for Use.
7. ELECTRICAL LEAK TESTING OF TEE PROBES IS REQUIRED
As of December 31, 2015, the Intersocietal Accreditation Committee (IAC) began requiring leak testing of TEE transducers between every procedure. A damaged probe can lead to black mouth (chemical burning due to improperly rinsed disinfectant) or an electrical shock to the patient (with the probe only inches from the patient’s heart).
8. PROPER STORAGE IS THE FINAL STEP
The Joint Commission (TJC) and probe manufacturers recommend storing probes in a manner to protect them from damage and contamination. In addition, TJC recommends that you hang probes vertically in a cabinet and store in a clean, dry environment. Tip guards also help protect the probe’s distal tip between uses.
Hear more about these TEE disinfection tips and more at our next webinar on Tuesday, April 11th @ 1 p.m. CDT.