AIUM – Guidelines for Cleaning and Preparing External- and Internal-Use Ultrasound Transducers and Equipment Between Patients as well as Safe Handling and Use of Ultrasound Coupling Gel

Official Statements

American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine (AIUM)


Adequate transducer preparation is mandatory to protect patients from potential infection.
The level of preparation depends on the type of examination performed.
Preparation of external transducers between patients requires a low-level disinfection (LLD) process. Preparation of internal transducers between patients requires routine mandatory high-level disinfection (HLD), and the use of a high-quality single-use transducer cover during each examination. Users should consult transducer manufacturer’s instructions for disinfecting devices. Barriers used for internal and interventional percutaneous procedures must be single- use transducer covers that meet the sterility requirements of the procedure. For all chemical disinfectants, precautions must be taken to protect workers and patients from the toxicity of the disinfectant. Sterile single-use gel packets should be used when infection is a concern. If cross-contamination is a concern, non-sterile single-use gel packets should be used. For all other situations, multidose containers may be used. Dry heat should be used to heat gel where medically needed. LLD cleaning of equipment is a significant part of interrupting the cross-contamination chain. The cleaning frequency is dictated by operator and patient exposure to microbial activity.
The AIUM does not endorse or promote any specific commercial products.
It is the responsibility of each entity to follow transducer manufacturer guidelines and applicable infection control recommendations.

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