Ultrasound gel: infection prevention

New PHE guidance on reducing the risk of infection during ultrasound procedures

Published: 20 January 2021 Ultrasound

Public Health England (PHE) has issued interim guidance on the safe use of ultrasound gel to reduce risk of transmission of infection during ultrasound and related procedures.

Contaminated ultrasound gel has been associated with outbreaks of infection in various settings and identified as a potential vector for infection.

Standard ultrasound gel is not produced as a sterile product and there is currently little available guidance on good practice in use of ultrasound gel for the UK setting.]

Ultrasound and ultrasound-guided procedures are conducted routinely both in radiology and clinical areas, including use in high dependency care and among patients with immunosuppression.

The guidance states that non-sterile ultrasound gel may only be used during low risk, general examinations on intact skin, not relating to a procedure or immediately prior to a procedure. It also covers the safe use of ultrasound gel, good practice when using reusable ultrasound bottles, and the warming of gel by dry heat.

The PHE document, published on 15 January 2021 has been partly adapted from guidance produced elsewhere and should be considered in the wider context of standard infection prevention and control precautions.

Read the full guidance here on the .gov.uk website.

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