It appears to be the case that a fairly large number of patients undergoing cardiac surgery are prone to infections that can prove to be fatal in the end.
Over half a million patients have undergone the harrowing ordeal of open heart surgery in the United States since the past four years or so.
Many of them could be prone to catching a deadly infection that was linked to a device used during the course of the operation. This health warning comes at a critical time when more and more of these interventionist measures are taking place.
Although these infections are relatively rare, they may lead to serious issues or even death in the final analysis. The problem is that the infections are hard to detect.
Patients may show no outward signs for months after the open heart surgery. In the past year alone some 28 cases have come to the fore regarding this complication.
Medical centers in Iowa, Michigan and Pennsylvania have reported sporadic cases. Also patients in Europe have started contracting these infections. Some of them were diagnosed with the infections approximately four years after the open heart surgeries.
The device which seems to be the culprit is a heater-cooler unit. It is an indispensable part of life-saving surgeries. It keeps the patient’s organs and blood at a specific temperature to ensure standard operating procedure during the course of the open heart surgery.
Over 250,000 heart bypass procedures use this device in the USA on an annual basis. The “Made in Germany” device has been linked to the majority of the infections.
The bacteria responsible for the infection has been termed the nontuberculous mycobacterium. It has been given the acronym of NTM, according to CDC.
While these bacteria are found in Nature and are not all that harmful, they can cause serious infections in patients who have had invasive operations performed on them.
The immune systems of these patients are compromised as a result which could prove to be troublesome. Among the symptoms are night sweats, muscular pain, weight loss, tiredness and fever that does not have any particular cause.
Antibiotics are the chief means of protection from this infection. The CDC has informed hospitals and physicians regarding this dire danger that may beset heart operation patients.
Contamination of the machines may be a very real factor in the mix. Therefore, hygiene is of the essence if patients’ lives are to be saved in the long run.