COVID and the decontamination of handheld ECHO devices

7th Jan 2021

There is evolving evidence that the novel coronavirus can survive on hard surfaces for hours to days. So, it’s important to consider these three rules for appropriate and thorough decontamination of the ultrasound device between patients: 

  1. Check the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure that the cleaning product will not harm your equipment. Select vendor-approved cleaning products to sufficiently decontaminate the equipment. If there is any doubt, contact the manufacturer. 
  2. Check that the approved cleaning products contain ingredients at sufficient quantities for effective decontamination of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, such as sodium hypochlorite and 70% isopropyl alcohol. If safe to use for the device, ensure that there is enough contact time for the cleaning product in between patients.
  3. Disinfect the devices in personal protective equipment (PPE) within designated areas to minimize the risk of cross-infection. 

Multi-component image of manual, sodium hypochlorite and 70% isopropyl alcohol bottles, and clinician in PPE disinfecting device.

Figure 1. Appropriate and thorough decontamination of your handheld echocardiography device includes, 1) checking the manufacturer’s instructions for vendor-approved products, 2) selecting cleaning products that contain ingredients for effective decontamination, and 3) disinfecting the device in personal protective equipment (PPE) within designated areas. 

 

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You may also consider designating specific scanners to be used only in certain clinical areas. This will prevent transferring a communicable disease around the healthcare environment (e.g., selected scanners used exclusively in the COVID-19 ward).

As always, it is important to practice standard infection control measures—such as thorough handwashing for at least 20 seconds after touching the device—to minimize the spread of infection. 

 

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Recommended reading

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  • Doyen, D, Moceri, P, Ducreux, D, et al. 2020. Myocarditis in a patient with COVID-19: A cause of raised troponin and ECG changes. Lancet395: 1516. PMID: 32334650
  • Drake, DH, De Bonis, M, Covella, M, et al. 2020. Echocardiography in pandemic: Front-line perspective, expanding role of ultrasound and ethics of resource allocation. J Am Soc Echocardiogr33: 683–689. PMID: 32503707
  • Fukuhara, S, Rosati, CM, and El-Dalati, S. 2020. Acute type A aortic dissection during the COVID-19 outbreak. Ann Thorac Surg. 110: e405–e407. PMID: 32333849
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  • Meyer, P, Degrauwe, S, Van Delden, C, et al. 2020. Typical takotsubo syndrome triggered by SARS-CoV-2 infection. Eur Heart J41: 1860. PMID: 32285915
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  • Nguyen, VTQ, Ho, JE, Ho, CY, et al. 2008. Handheld echocardiography offers rapid assessment of clinical volume status. Am Heart J156: 537–542. PMID: 18760138
  • Poissy, J, Goutay, J, Caplan, M, et al. 2020. Pulmonary embolism in patients with COVID-19: Awareness of an increased prevalence. Circulation142: 184–186. PMID: 32330083
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  • The American Society of Echocardiography. ASE statement on protection of patients and echocardiography service providers during the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak. 2020. ASEcho.org. https://www.asecho.org  
  • The American Society of Echocardiography. Cleaning recommendations from ultrasound manufacturers. 2020. ASEcho.org. https://www.asecho.org
  • The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), Public Health Wales (PHW), Public Health Agency (PHA) Northern Ireland, Health Protection Scotland (HPS) and Public Health England. COVID-19: Guidance for infection prevention and control in healthcare settings. Version 1.0. 2020. rcslt.org. https://www.rcslt.org 
  • Zeng, JH, Liu, YX, Yuan, J, et al. 2020. First case of COVID-19 complicated with fulminant myocarditis: A case report and insights. Infection48: 773–777. PMID: 32277408