Vaginal probes are used in sonographic scans. These probes including endocavitary probes really need a cover. The reason for this is that they become semi-critical due to their contact with mucous membranes creating a hazard when sharing the probes with patients. A solution is for probes to have a cover before the probe is applied to each patient. This is only part of an overall issue on disinfection and contamination. These covers are not fail proof and have been found to tear reducing their protective quality. This has led many to improve their protection to disinfection post examination as well as placing a cover on the probe before any following assessment with a new patient.
A study found after oocyte retrieval use, that there was a high level of perforation of these probe covers from a number of suppliers. A solution was found to utilize the protective qualities of a condom and use them to cover probes before use with a patient. The probes and transducers held up in tests and proved to be resilient and strong to the rigors of the examination, though there was still considerable level of issues with this protective method. This underlines and emphasizes the need for sustainable protocol to ensure probes are cleaned and disinfected appropriately to protect patients. Manufactures have always instructed the use of 2% glutaraldehyde for proper disinfection between uses but the regular use of this material has concerned practitioners for possibly shortening the lifespan of the probes as well as toxic effects to gametes and embryos.
There is a far more rigorous cleaning procedure, while time
consuming, it may protect the hardware and the patient while not putting anyone at
risk. This requires removing any gel from the probe or transducer and cleaning
t with soap and water. The following that you apply 70% alcohol alternatively
you can soak it in 500 ppm chlorine for a few minutes then rinse again with
water and leave out to dry. Since this procedure has yet been proven effective
in lab conditions, chemicals like hydrogen peroxide that pose no threat to patients
and probes are an effective alternative to cleaning the probes and ridding them
of any microbes that may have been picked up from previous medical inspections.
Proper cleaning does not just impact on following use but the future success of disinfection. One study found that drying the probes with a towel decreased the presence of bacteria but the details of this study are unclear. What is clear in cases of endovaginal probe there is considerable risk in spreading HBV or HPV and therefore in conclusion it seems much better approach to ensure the highest level of disinfection is applied to the probes.