GE ultrasound transducers are designed for reliability and durability. By following the proper care and handling procedures, you can help maximize your transducers performance and product life.
Transducer Cleaning and Disinfection Guides
Transducer Storage and Transport
Handling GE Transducers:
- Avoid dropping, impact, or abrasion to transducers. Careless handling can result in damaged acoustic lens, piezoelectric element breakage, cracked housings, and cable or system connector damage. Do not use transducers with cracked or damaged housings, shaft, acoustic lens, strain relief or cable assemblies as these issues may increase cross-contamination risks and compromise electrical safety features of the transducer.
- Use care to avoid excessive twisting, pulling, pinching or kinking of transducer cable assemblies. When transporting transducers, maintain control of cables and system connectors and use protective accessories if possible.
- Prevent introduction of foreign objects or moisture in the system connector assembly. Do not apply excessive force on any component of the system connector.
- Do not allow prolonged exposure to excessive moisture or immersion of transducers in any liquid above the recommended level as stated in the user manual for your system. Do not soak transducers in any liquid for longer than the recommended period of time as stated on the transducer care card, system user’s manual or chemical manufacturer instructions for use.
- Avoid rapid and extreme temperature changes as well as lengthy exposure to direct sunlight or a strong ultraviolet light source.
- Use caution when applying coupling gel to the acoustic lens of a transducer. Any hard or abrasive materials coming in contact with the acoustic lens may damage the transducer and reduce image quality.
Transducers with evidence of improper care and handling, abuse or tampering are not covered under your product warranty or service contract. All transducers are subject to evaluation by GE Ultrasound Service.
Before use, inspect the following areas of the transducer:
- Transducer body including the shaft, handle, & nose-piece: inspect for cracks, abrasions, or evidence of impact
- Acoustic lens or cap: check for cuts, tears, gouging, abrasion, swelling, bubbling, delamination or discoloration
- Strain relief and cable assembly: check for cracks, cuts, tears, abrasion, kinking or crushing
- System connector: check for foreign objects, broken latches, or bent pins and shielding.
- Cable assembly: check for discoloration or inflexibility of the transducer cable or strain-relief
- Trans-esophageal transducers (TEE): inspect the flexible portion for tears, rips, or discoloration
Warning: Cross-contamination and electrical leakage
Cross-contamination risk: Transducers with cracks, abrasions or tears may harbor dangerous contaminants or tear protective sheaths used with the ultrasound transducers. Do not use transducers with any signs of damage. Electrical leakage risk: Non-hazardous voltage is present during normal transducer use. GE recommends regular electrical safety leakage testing to ensure operator and equipment safety.
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Transducer Cleaning and Disinfection Guidelines:
Cleaning and disinfection of transducers should be done before use and between patient exams. Always refer to the transducer care card provided with your GE transducer or you may refer to your ultrasound system user manual. In the event that you are using an ultrasound system that is no longer listed, you may find your systems user manual at:
For additional information about cleaning and disinfection refer to the recommendations of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control (APIC), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
These generalized cleaning instructions are indicated for use with all GE transducers. Cleaning is the removal of all visible soil or contaminants from the transducer. All transducers must be cleaned after every use and is an essential step before disinfection or sterilization is attempted.
1. After every exam, ensure the acoustic coupling gel is completely wiped off the transducer. Transducers should not be left soaking in gel
2. Remove any transducer cover, biopsy guides, or protective devices from the transducer.
3. Use a moistened soft cloth or wipe to remove any remaining contaminants that remain on the transducer or cable. Do not re-use cloths or wipes. Soap, detergents or enzymatic cleaners should be used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. GE is not responsible for damage incurred during the cleaning process for products which no material compatibility evaluation has been conducted.
4. If rinsing is required, use caution not to expose the system connector to moisture or liquids.
5. Use a lint-free soft and clean dry cloth or wipe to thoroughly dry the probe and cable.
Notes: Cleaning products should be as close to neutral PH as possible. Any gel, cleaning or disinfectant products containing concentrations surfactants, methanol, ethanol, benzyl or methyl alcohol, bleach, methyl or ethyl paraben, polyethylene glycol, mineral oil, lubricant oil, oil based lotions, acetone, ammonia, anhydrous ammonia, iodine, iodine compounds, acids with 5PH or greater may damage or discolor your transducer. The use of any type of brush is not recommended as bristles may damage lens materials. Ultrasonic cleaning is not approved for GE transducers.
Choosing a disinfectant:
When choosing a disinfectant, determine the required level of disinfection based on device classification. (See table 1 below). If the possibility of cross-contamination or exposure to unhealthy or non-intact skin exists, then high level disinfection should be performed. Good hand-hygiene practice is highly recommended to further reduce the risk of cross-contamination.
Warning: Disinfectant wipes and topical spray products are not FDA cleared high level disinfectants and do not provide adequate protection should the transducer become cross-contaminated or in contact with unhealthy or non-intact skin.
Table 1: Levels of Disinfection Requirements1
1Based on Spaulding Classification
A validated high-level disinfection process combined with the use of a sterile gel and a transducer cover is an accepted method of infection control for ultrasound transducers. Adequate records or a logbook detailing the time, date, disinfection method, and verification of disinfectant effectiveness or test results is recommended. For more information about establishing an evidenced based disinfection protocol for your practice refer to the FDA, CDC, HICPAC, APIC or the Joint Commission websites.
Note: Always consult your GE transducer care card or ultrasound system user manual for a list of compatible disinfectants. Prior to disinfection, transducers should be clean and dry. If a manual disinfection process is utilized, ensure that all staff is properly trained and disinfectant instructions for use are followed precisely.
Where possible, GE recommends the use of an automated system for disinfection of ultrasound transducers that is FDA cleared and provides a more consistent disinfection process and minimizes the risk of exposure to disinfectants. Visit GE Accessories & Supplies for transducer disinfection solutions.
Note: GE does not substantiate the effectiveness of recommended disinfectant or sterilization products. Questions regarding efficacy, instructions for use, and proper handling should be directed to the disinfectant manufacturer. GE publishes a list of material compatible disinfectants. Do not use non-GE approved disinfectants or products that have not been evaluated by GE for material compatibility. Damages linked to the use of disapproved chemicals are not covered under product warranty or service contract.
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Transducer Transport and Storage
This section provides information on transporting or storing for daily or long-term storage.
- Always clean and disinfect any transducer before transporting between sites or sending it via freight carrier.
- If a carrying case is provided with your transducer, always use the carrying case to transport the transducer from one site to another. The original shipping carton may also be used for transporting from site to site as long as the transducer has been cleaned and disinfected.
Warning: Placing a dirty or contaminated transducer in a carrying case or shipping carton will contaminate the foam insert.
- Do not use cloth or plastic bags to transport transducers. This will result in damage to the transducer.
- If possible, use a rigid container with a lid and that secures the system connector in place so as not to damage the transducer head or lens.
- For TEE transducers – do not coil the flexible shaft too tightly. Coil should be 1ft or greater in diameter.
Daily and long-term storage
Follow these guidelines to protect your transducer:
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- Always store transducers in the transducer holders on the side of your system or on a securely mounted wall rack when you are not using them.
- Make sure the transducer holders are clean before storing transducers.
- Avoid storing transducers in areas of temperature extremes or in direct sunlight. - When storing transducers, use the cable-management clips to secure the transducer cable.
- For TEE transducers, be sure the distal tip is straight and protected before storing the transducer.
- Never store a TEE transducer in the carrying case, except to transport it.