Anyone who has recently undergone open heart surgery and developed symptoms of an infection should contact their doctor as soon as possible, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday. The agency is warning health care providers and patients that a device commonly used during the operation could be contaminated.
In the past year or so, there have been at least 28 cases in which bacteria from a specific device used in the surgery, known as a heater-cooler, matched bacteria found in patients, according to CDC spokeswoman Melissa Brower. Cases have been reported in Pennsylvania, Iowa and Michigan, she says.
Heater-cooler devices help keep a patient’s circulating blood and organs at a safe temperature during open heart surgery, according to the CDC. The agency estimates the specific device, which is manufactured by LivaNova PLC, is used in approximately 60 percent of heart bypass procedures in the U.S.