Contaminated machines linked to heart surgery infections
NEW YORK: Health officials are warning that small outbreaks of infections spread by contaminated operating room machinery during open-heart surgery could be more widespread than first thought. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention alerted doctors and hospitals on Thursday.
The contamination has been tied to 28 cases in the US, including at least four who died - though it’s not certain that the bacterial infection caused those deaths. But officials think hundreds or thousands of other patients could also have been infected. The outbreaks have been tracked to certain heater-cooler devices, which are used to keep patients’ hearts cold and bodies warm during some heart operations. The manufacturer of the devices identified the contamination in its factory in Germany in 2014 and reportedly cleaned it up. But bacteria traced to the machines were linked to clusters of illnesses in Switzerland, Pennsylvania, Iowa and Michigan. Officials think the Stockert 3T machines, made by London-based LivaNova, are used in roughly half of the 250,000 cardiopulmonary bypass operations performed in the US each year.
They don’t think infection occurred in everyone who had a surgery in which that machine was used. The CDC estimates that in hospitals where at least one infection has been identified, the risk of a patient getting an infection from the bacteria was somewhere between 1 in 100 and 1 in 1,000. There seems to be a higher risk for patients who had valves or other products implanted, health officials said.
Twenty-one Pennsylvania cases were reported by three hospitals - Wellspan York Hospital, Penn State Hershey Hospital and Penn Presbyterian in Philadelphia. Five cases were reported in Iowa, by the University of Iowa and Mercy Medical Center. — AP