Ultrasound TEE Probe Maintenance Tips

How To Identify TEE Probe Defects

Transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE) probes tend to be “budget busters” when it comes to TEE probe repair or replacement.  TEE probes require constant inspection to ensure they aren’t in need of repair and are performing at their peak.

Many TEE probe defects are so small they go unnoticed by everyone handling the probe. In some cases, the smallest TEE probe defects, like tiny holes or cracks, turn into the biggest TEE probe repairs.  If a bite guard isn’t used during a TEE probe procedure, a patient’s bite reflex can leave cuts or holes in the bending rubber, covering the articulating portion of the insertion tube.  This can allow fluid to infiltrate into the probe. Fluid in the TEE probe can then lead to corrosion throughout the entire probe and ultimately require a complete probe rebuild.  These holes also greatly increase patient risk, related to electrical current leakage and potential cross-contamination.

Not catching probe defects early, like the ones listed above, leads to high priced probe repairs and/or replacements.  In some cases TEE probes can cost as much as $8,000 for probe repair and up to $28,000 for a TEE probe replacement.  And to think that bite holes can be avoided by using a two dollar bite guard. It makes you wonder why they aren’t used on every TEE probe procedure.

By understanding what TEE probe defects to look for, you can start to identify common problems, like corrosion in the steering control, crushed insertion tubes, bite marks in the insertion tube or bending rubber, and damage to the tip or lens.  Identifying these issues early reduces your repair costs significantly and extends the life of your TEE probe.  For example, if you catch a hole in the bending rubber early, you can fix it for around $1,000, but if you leave the probe defect unattended, it will eventually lead to fluid in the TEE probe and a TEE probe replacement costing as much as $28,000.

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