Ultrasound is often used by vascular access teams and nurses to guide certain vascular access procedures, such as placing PICC lines or difficult access peripheral IVs (PIVs). Improving patient safety and outcomes is needed for vascular access interventions, and there are other specific considerations when using ultrasound.
Infection prevention in vascular access is a widely discussed topic, and this post will outline research and guidelines specific to ultrasound-guided procedures.
Medical facilities exist to care for and improve the health of their patients. However, a major concern for patients is the risk of getting an infection during a procedure or hospital stay. Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) are acquired while patients receive health care for another condition1 and can occur 48 to 72 hours after treatment.2
The Joint Commission (TJC) states: “Standardizing the use of high-level disinfectants and sterilization practices are critical for ensuring that medical equipment, devices, and supplies do not transmit infectious agents to patients.”1
A previous blog post took you through the necessary steps for cleaning ultrasound transducers in How to Clean an Ultrasound Probe. Cleaning is a fundamental step that cannot be skipped before you disinfect the ultrasound probe. Now we’ll go over the process of high-level disinfecting an ultrasound probe. Since there’s a lot to cover, we’ve broken it up into two parts.
Cleaning is a mandatory first step in the high-level disinfection process of intracavity ultrasound transducers, such as transesophageal and endocavity probes. Healthcare workers may use ‘pre-cleaning’ and ‘cleaning’ interchangeably.
Properly cleaning the probe optimizes the disinfection process and the American Institute for Ultrasound in Medicine (AIUM) states that “adequate transducer preparation is mandatory.”1 If you skip the cleaning step or perform it inadequately, you will compromise the entire disinfection or sterilization process.
The required use of a probe cover for every endocavity ultrasound procedure has been well established by standards set by governing bodies and industry associations. And the use of an intracavity probe cover does not change the necessity for high-level disinfect or store the endocavity probes properly post-procedure.1,2 When considering which endocavity cover to use, questions that often arise include:
The Joint Commission (TJC) was founded in 1951, with an inspiring vision to transform how people experience healthcare across all settings. In this new era, The Joint Commission would evaluate organizations and encourage them to continuously improve public healthcare by providing a patient experience that is safe, effective, and of the highest quality care and value.1 One area The Joint Commission survey focuses on is the cleaning and disinfecting of ultrasound probes.
Fine needle aspiration biopsies (FNAs) are common procedures performed by physicians around the world, in facilities large and small. An FNA procedure utilizes thinner needles (21-27 gauge) to extract tissue samples from a patient’s discovered lesion, which pathology uses to diagnose whether the lesion is malignant or benign1. FNAs can be done on many anatomic sites, but are typically performed on a lymph node, thyroid gland, breast, liver, or pancreas2.
Infection prevention and control is a major focus of healthcare facilities to 1) lower the risk of patients contracting healthcare acquired infections (HAIs), 2) reduce costs that occur with HAIs, and 3) maintain compliance with The Joint Commission (TJC).