Top Story, Hospitals, Devices & Diagnostics

Ultrasound technology using just water could be the answer to keeping medical devices actually clean

What if just tiny bubbles were the answer to avoiding super bugs and contaminated medical devices? Could be.

An ultrasonic device known as the StarStream could significantly increase the efficacy of cleaning medical devices.

The device, created by researchers from the University of Southampton in the U.K., distributes tiny bubbles to scrub surfaces, which reduces the need for additives and heating to achieve effective cleaning

StarStream is already in commercial production by Ultrawave, and in testing it was able to effectively remove biological contamination from surgical steel using just cold water, according to Fierce Medical Devices.

“In the absence of sufficient cleaning of medical instruments, contamination and infection can result in serious consequences for the health sector and remains a significant challenge,” Principal Investigator Professor Tim Leighton, from the University’s Institute of Sound and Vibration Research, said in a statement. “Our highly-effective cleaning device, achieved with cold water and without the need for chemical additives or the high power consumption associated with conventional strategies, has the potential to meet this challenge and transform the sector.”

With the recently heavier news concerning the spread of super bugs due to inadequate medical device cleaning methods, research like this looks hopeful.

Not only would the device help with sanitation, it will reportedly save energy as well. The device could save up to 97 percent of the energy used in current commercial products, and it could save up to 99 percent of the water waste because it recycles what’s used. But actually getting this product in the hands of providers is the only way these advantages will be put in place.

“Commercialization is vital: if we cannot build a business that can sell thousands of these to health providers at a price they find attractive, this invention will stay in the laboratory and help no-one,” concluded Leighton.

Photo: Flickr user Lóránt Szabó