According to the American Heart Association, transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE) ultrasound probes use high-frequency sound waves to make detailed pictures of the heart and the arteries that lead to and from it. These devices are responsible for helping thousands of people with various heart-related issues learn more about what's going on in their hearts. Since these probes play such a vital role in the health of so many, it's important to care for them properly to prevent any damage which could result in poor image quality, expensive repairs, or even the spreading of an HAI.
The best way to minimize the risk of damaging TEE probes is by reducing handling of the fragile device via the implementation of automation in your reprocessing procedure. Utilizing a device like the TEEClean® Automated TEE Probe Cleaner Disinfector automates the cleaning, disinfection, and rinsing steps. This means the probe will be handled less often, helping prevent it from being bumped or scraped accidentally as can happen when manually reprocessing.
Automation helps in other ways, as well. By automating disinfection, you can rest assured that the probe will not be exposed to harsh disinfectants a moment longer than necessary which will help extend the insertion tube's lifespan. The probe's handle is also safeguarded against accidentally falling into a basin of disinfectant which would permanently damage the TEE probe.
Another way to protect costly TEE probes from damage is to use a transportation solution that will keep the probe safe from harm. The Joint Commission requires that probes be transported in leak-proof, puncture resistant containers. The TPorter® TEE Ultrasound Probe Procedure Case is the perfect way to transport TEE probes to and from the procedure room. The tough polycarbonate case protects TEE probes from damage during transport and even protects patients and staff from exposure to potentially hazardous biological material.
Additionally, the molded compartments help transport the required compliance products for the TEE procedure and ID status labels which identify the probe as dirty or clean. This also helps comply with Joint Commission standards which require that dirty and clean probes be clearly labeled, which is also best practice.
Finally, at the end of a hard day of work, every TEE probe needs a safe place to rest. The Joint Commission suggests that probes be stored, "vertically in a clean, well-ventilated and dust-free area." The best solution is a TEE probe storage cabinet. The CleanShield® TEE Probe Storage Cabinet prevents probe contamination after high-level disinfection, but is also useful for probe protection. Obviously, the cabinet prevents accidental bumps from passersby, but it also does more. The CleanShield keeps cables straight, not coiled, which is important for the cable's integrity and, thus, image quality.
TEE ultrasound probes are an important part of healthcare and heart health, and keeping them functioning optimally is vital to the health of patients and the financial health of healthcare facilities. Implementing just a few of these suggestions can help to lengthen your TEE probe's lifespan and keep it running smoothly for years.