How to maintain an ultrasound machine

Written by cynthia sullivan
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How to maintain an ultrasound machine
(control panel of ultrasound scanner image by starush from Fotolia.com)

An ultrasound technician, or sonographer, uses a probe known as a transducer to examine organs and vessels in the body. The ultrasound machine creates an image based on the speed at which echoes return from the transducer. Maintaining an ultrasound machine is vital for continued and accurate use in patient diagnostic testing. Because the ultrasound equipment is necessary for a smoothly functioning medical lab, the care, prevention and maintenance of the machine should be strictly followed on a routine basis.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Maintenance agreement
  • Ultrasound cleaner

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Schedule preventive machine maintenance and cleaning by a service representative on a quarterly basis.

  2. 2

    Check the ultrasound equipment daily. Make sure that all of the connections are plugged in properly. Look carefully at the integrity of the wiring, cables and transducers. Swap cut or frayed areas with backup supplies immediately.

  3. 3

    Wipe down the transducers and patient physiology cables--cables that monitor the heart rate and vital signs--after each patient exam, using an ultrasound cleaner. Follow any rigid cleaning protocols, such as sterilisation for certain types of transducers used for specific procedures.

  4. 4

    Wipe down the machine thoroughly at the end of each shift and write down any glitches or problems that you may have noticed during any of the exams done during your shift. Report significant problems to the service representative right away.

Tips and warnings

  • The majority of health-care facilities and practices purchase their maintenance agreements from the original equipment manufacturer (OEM). An OEM maintenance agreement is considered the safest, albeit the most expensive, option, as the manufacturers are familiar with their machines.
  • Large medical facilities sometimes do not invest in maintenance agreements; instead, they have their internal engineering departments handle maintenance of the ultrasound machines. The engineers are given ultrasound-machine training to do preventive maintenance and handle basic problems, but this may prove to be quite a gamble if costly problems arise. Without a maintenance agreement, the facility also usually doesn't have the latest upgrades and other benefits available to them.

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