High Level Disinfection of Ultrasound Probes

From one exam to the next.

Properly disinfected ultrasound probes matter to patients, to your care team, and to your facility's bottom line.

As a trusted partner for ultrasound technologies, we know how important it is to take great care of probes - and how challenging the High-Level Disinfection (HLD) process can be.

GE can help you automate and standardize probe disinfection - and in more ways than you might expect. We offer complete systems and support for disinfecting your ultrasound transducers and keeping them protected from the end of one exam to the start of the next.

Look to us to keep bringing you solutions that help you simplify steps, eliminate others entirely, minimize the possibility for errors and maximize compliance.

What is HLD?

High-level disinfection is defined as the complete elimination of microorganisms in or on an instrument, except for small numbers of bacterial spores. To reduce the risk of ultrasound probe cross-infection, it is important to know when to perform the HLD process. HLD should be performed on probes that are used in semi-critical procedures, as defined by The Spaulding Classification.
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What procedure will your probe be used for?

Applying the correct level of disinfection is based on the procedure the probe is going to be used for on the next patient.

Why HLD?

GE HLD Solutions

Guidelines & Recommendations

“ …because condoms/probe covers can fail, the [semi-critical ultrasound] probe also should be high level disinfected.” 9


“ All internal transducers (e.g., vaginal, rectal, and transesophageal transducers) as well as intraoperative transducers require high level disinfection before they can be used on another patient.” “Because of the potential disruption of the barrier sheath, high level disinfection with chemical agents is necessary.” 10


“ Semi-critical devices…sterilize these devices between uses whenever feasible, but high level disinfection is minimallyn acceptable.”


“ Semi-critical devices should be sterilized, if possible. However, if sterilization is not feasible, the, device, at a minimum, must be subjected to a high level disinfection process…” 11


“ Semi-critical devices that contact mucous membranes or non-intact skin should minimally undergo high level disinfection.” “ Store the device in a manner that will protect from damage or contamination and that is consistent with national guidelines and manufacturers’ recommendations such as hanging vertically in a cabinet and storing in a clean environment.” 12


“ …A new recommendation for high-level disinfection or sterilization of endocavity ultrasound probes highlights the risk for probe contamination with lower levels of disinfection, even when a sheath or cover is used. ” 13


Related Products

1. Electronically accessed. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr61/nvsr61_04.pdf
2. Marchetti, A. and Rossiter, R. (2013). J Med Econ 2013 Dec;16(12):1399-404.
3. Scott RD. Atlanta: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2009).
4. Klevens, M et al., Estimating Health Care-Associated Infections and Deaths in U.S. Hospitals,. Public Health Rep. 122: 160-66, 2007 (2002 Data).
5. Leroy SJ. Hosp Infect 2013 83(2):99-106.
6. Ma S et al. Emerg Med J. 2013 30(6):472-5.
7. Vickery K et al. J Inf Pub Health 2013; in press.
8. Electronically accessed: thejointcommission.org. May 2014. Issue Two. Improperly sterilized or high-level disinfected equipment.
9. RutalaWA, Weber DJ, HICPAC. Guideline for Disinfection and Sterilization in Healthcare Facilities. USA: Centers for Disease Control; CDC 2008.
(https://www.cdc.gov/infectioncontrol/pdf/guidelines/disinfectionguidelines. pdf)
10. American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine. Guidelines for cleaning and preparing external and internal-use ultrasound probes between patients. AIUM Official Statement.
Online at: http://www.aium.org/officialStatements/57. Accessed March 8, 2016.
11. http://www.aami.org/standards/index.aspx?navItemNumber=504.
12. Electronically accessed: Joint Commission Alert is Another Wake-Up Call for Awareness of Improper HLD or Sterilization.
13. Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN). In: Sharon A. Van Wicklin, editor. High-Level Disinfection. AORN Guidelines for periOperative Practice Online. Online:
AORN, Inc; 2018. p. I.HLD1-I.HLD24.