March 28, 2017
A global outbreak of Mycobacterium chimaera, an invasive, slow-growing bacterium, is linked to Heater-cooler Devices (HCD) used in cardiac surgery, according to a study published today in Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology, the journal of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America. This study adds interim guidance to recent field reports on the outbreak, providing precautionary recommendations to hospitals and health systems to reduce the risk of infections.
“It is surprising that a global outbreak like this could go unnoticed for years. This dangerous infection has put many patients at risk all over the world,” said Rami Sommerstein, MD, of Inselspital, Bern University Hospital in Switzerland, the lead author of the study. “Now that we know HCDs are the source, individual action from the different players (healthcare institutions, manufacturers, etc.) is needed to contain the ongoing patient risk. The most important action a hospital can take is to remove contaminated HCDs from the operating room and other critical areas. That is the only way to ensure that patients are protected from this infection moving forward.”