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More bang for your buck: Ultrasound

by Carol Ko , Staff Writer
From the July 2013 issue of DOTmed HealthCare Business News magazine

Ultrasound machines are known for being portable, durable and cheap. But experts agree that by far and away, the biggest challenge of maintaining these sturdy workhorses is counteracting the daily wearand- tear and user abuse on the transducer.

Repeated mistreatment makes image quality deteriorate significantly and signals will stop, creating dead spots. But with proper care, transducers can last anywhere from two to eight years on average, depending on how frequently they’re used, the model, and the manufacturer.

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Below are some helpful pointers to help care for your transducers, provided by Robert Broschart, director of sales and marketing at Axess Ultrasound LLC; Robert Guyton, CEO of Manifest Medical; and Volodymyr Markevych, president of Vomark Technologies.

  • Be proactive: Establish a schedule for inspecting your probes regularly. Perform a probe analysis once or twice a year to identify hidden problems.

  • Lean and clean: Follow manufacturer specifications in disinfecting and cleaning the probes. Never immerse the array past the handle (the cord/ connection area should not be submerged).

  • Storage wars: Ensure the frontal array and the connection grid will not rub or scrape against anything that could cause either connection and/or transmission issues. While not in use, store probes in a dry location to prevent damage or contamination. Finally, avoid excessive bending of the cord, mainly around the array.

  • Something old, something new: Repair will always be the least expensive route. There’s also a limit to the number of times a probe can be repaired — three to five times is the limit, experts say. If you go the repair route, use a reputable repair facility.

  • Do your homework: When buying a refurbished probe, find out how it was tested. The lowest price is not always your best option if you’re replacing the probe two or three times a year. If a vendor sells you a probe that lasts several years, that may be the “cheapest” route you can go.


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