The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued warning that commonly used device for heating and cooling blood during open-heart surgery may be contaminated with a dangerous bacteria, Mycobacterium chimaera. This bacteria is able to stealthily grow a sticky film around a heart over the course of over weeks or months. This sticky film can case multiple complications, including death. In conjunction with the CDC and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FD), open-heart surgery facilities have been contacting their open-heart surgery patients to advise them that they could have been exposed to this bacterial infection.
The Stöckert 3T heater-cooler, manufactured in Germany by LivaNova PLC, was found to be contaminated by the Mycobacterium chimaera bacteria. Despite thorough device cleanings, more cases of infections began popping up across the United States. This prompted officials to suspect that the contamination occurred in the factory during production.
Anyone who has had open heart surgery since 2011 should consult a medical professional if you are experiencing any sign of infection such as fever, fatigue, unintended sweat loss or weight loss. Since the complications associated with M.chimaera could be a long time, it is of the utmost importance to see a doctor if you feel out of the ordinary during recovery. We also encourage you to speak with one of our experienced attorneys to discuss your individual circumstances. The consultation is confidential and free.