I’m trying to get an idea of the reliability/quality/dependability/ durability of different ultrasound equipment (or ultrasound probes), such as ultrasound equipment made by GE, Siemens, Philips, Sonosite, or others. Do certain brands have a higher cost of ownership than others? Do some probes tend to need more (or less) maintenance than others over time? I’m trying to better understand the industry and how the different companies compare.

Any information you could share would be most helpful, even if it is just anecdotal. Thank you!

Ultrasound equipment is generally very reliable when it is properly maintained. Early in the transition from firmware-based equipment to hard drive based equipment we saw many reliability issues. Notably hard drive corruption, system crashes, lost data, and frustrated users. Witness the evolution of the IU22 and IE33 by Philips/ATL. The “A” carts had many reliability problems and were cabling nightmares. As the technology matured through the A, B, C, D, E, and now F series carts, we see improvements to power supplies, ventilation, and the introduction of a unified motherboard scheme that have really improved reliability. The industry is sensitive to reliability issues and has, in most cases, responded to the rocky transition with higher quality products.

The failure of probes due to wear and tear, mishandling, and exposure to the wrong chemicals makes them the one of the most frequent problems on the ultrasound system. Inspecting all probes during a PM will help catch potential failures early and minimize lost time, will help reduce repair costs, and will allow the repair to be scheduled at the department’s convenience rather than as an emergency.

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