Disinfection of Ultrasound Transducers - what practitioners need to know

Educational Webinar, hosted by BMUS, sponsored by Nanosonics

Learning Objectives:

  • Analyse research outlining the infection risks from improper ultrasound probe disinfection
  • Learn to apply the Spaulding classification system, which is the basis of ultrasound probe disinfection guidelines in the UK and internationally
  • Identify that semi-critical and critical ultrasound probes minimally require high level disinfection with use of a sheath (sterile sheath for critical probes)
  • Explain the important role of the sonographer and ultrasound users in ultrasound probe infection prevention and patient safety


The rapid expansion of ultrasound imaging has brought great benefit to patients, however there are some patient safety challenges to navigate. Recent literature has documented infection risks and patient death related to improper ultrasound probe disinfection, with international surveys identifying wide variation in disinfection practices. This underscores the need for ultrasound users to review their current practices and ensure they align with best practice guidelines. This session will review the literature and the Spaulding classification system, which forms the basis of international probe disinfection guidelines and the SCoR/BMUS Guidelines for Professional Ultrasound Practice.

According to the framework, ultrasound probes that contact sterile tissue or the bloodstream in the procedure (‘critical probes’) preferably require sterilization, or high level disinfection and a sterile sheath. Probes that contact mucous membranes or non-intact skin (‘semi-critical probes’) require high level disinfection with use of a sheath. By implementing this knowledge and guidance, ultrasound users can play a critical role in protecting their patients from risk of infection.