At least three patients in a Los Angeles County hospital have developed an infection after undergoing open heart surgery with a heater-cooler machine.
What’s the Problem?
February 8, 2017 – All of the infected patients were treated with a Stöckert 3T heater-cooler device during open chest cardiac surgery, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) in October warned that some of the heater-coolers may have been contaminated during manufacturing and that patients exposed to the devices during heart surgery and other invasive procedures could be at risk for life-threatening infections with nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) bacteria.
The LA Times reported that county health officials spoke with 24 hospitals that used Stöckert 3T heater-cooler devices. At least 2 of the hospitals reported that patients had developed infections after open heart surgery with the device.
NTM infections are hard to diagnose because the bacteria is slow-growing. “The infections have occurred months or years following surgery,” Schwartz said.
Patients who had open heart surgery should seek immediate medical care if they experience night sweats, muscle aches, weight loss, fatigue or unexplained fever.