How long can a disinfected TOE probe be stored before needing to be reprocessed?

AMT Group Australasia
Wednesday, 16 March, 2022

What is the best practice to store your TOE probes? Unfortunately, many facilities overlook this crucial part of TOE probe care and store their probes in inadequate storage and transportation cases. Even facilities transport expensive and fragile TOE probes into pillowcases, risking damage to the probe and ensuring that the probe will not remain high-level disinfected. The inside of a pillowcase or similar item is not high-level disinfected and potentially harbours dangerous bacteria. This is not the intended use of these cases and is, in fact, against regulations in several countries, indicating that this is an unsafe practice.

The best method for ultrasound probe storage will keep the probe protected from contamination and damage. There is no hard and fast rule regarding probes storage healthcare facilities to store probes hanging vertically in a clean, dust-free environment.

Storage cabinets help probes stay high-level disinfected until they are ready to be used again, safeguarding your facility’s high standards and keeping patients healthy. These cabinets encase each probe, keeping them safe from physical damage. Additionally, CleanShield storage cabinets push HEPA filtered air into the chamber, minimizing the risk of airborne contaminants entering the cabinet and polluting clean probes. Healthcare facilities should consider implementing a storage solution like the CleanShield TOE Probe Storage Cabinet to meet all these criteria effectively and for a low cost.

Once a probe has been disinfected and properly stored in a storage cabinet, how long can it stay there before the disinfection level may become compromised? CS Medical commissioned a study to investigate and determine how long TOE ultrasound probes can be stored in the CleanShield before reprocessing.

Several probes were processed — disinfected, dried, and stored. Half were stored in CleanShield cabinets, and the other half were stored hanging in open cabinets without HEPA filtered air. After seven days, those hanging within the CleanShield, “remained measurably free of contamination,” while those stored in the open cabinet had “contracted 160 bacteria per 24-hour hang-period.”

Keeping your probes high-level disinfected and knowing how long they will stay that way is vital to the functioning of your facility. Be sure to consult your facility’s infection control practitioner and your TOE probe manufacturer about developing and implementing a standard operating procedure at your facility regarding probe storage time.

The TOE probe storage cabinets provide a dedicated and secure place to store disinfected TOE probes. Each cabinet is designed to bathe TOE probes with positive pressure HEPA-filtered clean air during storage, minimizing probe contact with airborne contaminants. Thermally fused seamless polypropylene construction makes the cabinet easy to clean with any disinfectant.

The TOE probe storage cabinet is designed with hanging clips and shelves to quickly secure the disinfected TOE probe placement. The probe can hang freely inside the storage cabinet while the probe headset and cable are held in secure positions. Once the TOE probe has been safely placed inside the storage cabinet, the door can be closed and locked for added security. The polypropylene TOE probe storage cabinet accommodates up to three probes. They are designed to store disinfected TOE probes effectively and securely by suspending each disinfected TOE probe in a vertical position that minimizes stress on the TOE probe’s connection cable and strain relief.

All AMT Group cabinets are listed on the TGA ARTG and fully comply with AS 4187 requirements for probe storage.

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