First study of its kind reveals increased risk of infection and antibiotic prescriptions following semi-invasive ultrasound probe procedures

A groundbreaking epidemiological study which has global implications concerning the methods used to reprocess transvaginal and transrectal ultrasound probes, has been released by Health Protection Scotland and NHS Scotland.1 The study shows:

  • Thirty days after a transvaginal ultrasound scan, patients were 41% (HR=1.41) more likely to have positive bacterial cultures and 26% (HR=1.26) more likely to be prescribed antibiotics than similar patients who underwent gynaecological procedures without ultrasound (p<0.001).
  • For transrectal scans, patients were 3.4 times (HR=3.4) more likely to have positive bacterial cultures and 75% (HR=1.75) more likely to be prescribed antibiotics (p<0.001).
1. Health Protection Scotland, NHS National Services Scotland. NHSScotland Risk
Based Recommendations for the Decontamination of Semi-Invasive Ultrasound Probes: Risk
of infection following semi-invasive ultrasound procedures in Scotland, 2010 to 2016. Version 1.0.
October 2017. Accessible at: http://www.hps.scot.nhs.uk/pubs/detail.aspx?id=3366.