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Telemetry transmitters provide vital data. They are also one of the most important devices within the recovery suite following surgical procedures … and one of the most expensive. Many of the devices that do come in for repair are a result of physical damage and/or fluid intrusion. However, proper cleaning and care of these devices, post use by patients, could prolong the life of this very costly piece of equipment..
One of the first, and best, ways to ensure that the telemetry transmitter is protected is for the patient to always wear the device in a pouch-like holder. Case damage and broken battery doors are in constant need of replacement from being dropped. The importance of the pouch-holder is to eliminate fluid intrusion and other debris from contact with the device. If a pouch-holder is not an option, there are other holsters that are available. Please check with the device manufacturer to find one what is suitable for the environment.
The telemetry transmitter is a delicate piece of equipment. Fluid intrusion is the second most common repair issue this device is prone to. It can cause corrosion throughout the device and will cause intermittent functionality. Given how important this unit is to the patient and the health care providers monitoring vitals, it is imperative that the unit function to the standard for which it was designed. Again, the pouch-like holder can assist with keeping the device clean and dry. However, there will be times when the device getting wet or submerged cannot be avoided. For example, patient showers. It is recommended that patient showers be limited to 10 minutes. Anything above 10 minutes could impede device functionality.
Keeping the telemetry transmitter clean is not only a sanitary function, it also will keep the unit in proper working order longer. Prior to cleaning the device, please make sure to remove any batteries and lead wires from the transmitter. Only use the approved cleaners that the OEM recommends. For example:
Do not use antibacterial soap or abrasive cleaners/solvents of any kind.
Saturating the device in cleaning solvents is not advised, nor is getting solution around the ECG pins, wells and service ports. It is best to use a lint-free cloth to wipe the unit down. You may use an ESD brush to get into hard-to-reach crevices of the device. Cotton swabs and paper towels are appropriate to use on the connectors. Once you’ve cleaned/sanitized the unit, allow necessary time to air dry and prepare your device for functionality testing.
It is important to make sure the telemetry transmitter is operating properly after cleaning. Each manufacturer should provide instruction for a “self-test” to determine if the device is patient ready. However, if the device fails the “power on self-test,” do not use the transceiver for patient monitoring.
If there are issues with your device failing the self-test by the manufacturer, it is always recommended to send it for evaluation and repair (if needed).
– Gadier Rodriguez is a biomedical technician and Michele Paylor is tech administrator for Avante Health Solutions’ Center of Excellence in San Clemente, California. For more information on patient monitoring equipment sourcing, repair and parts contact Avante Health Solutions or visit avantehs.com/monitoring.
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