The Stockert 3T heater-cooler device, which is used to regulate body temperature during certain surgeries, has been linked to a dangerous microorganism that can cause infections and death. The Stockert 3T heater-cooler system is used to regulate a patient’s body temperature during cardioplegic surgeries that stop the heart and blood flow. “Cardioplegia” means intentional and temporary cessation of cardiac activity. Cardiothoracic surgeries involving the heart and lungs, such as transplant surgeries, require cardioplegia to be successful.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have notified all U.S.hospitals that the 3T heater-cooler device used to heat and cool blood during cardioplegic surgeries has been linked to a rare bacterial Nontuberculous Mycobacterium Infection (NTM) called Mycobacterium chimaera. These surgeries include open-heart surgeries, including heart and lung transplants or ventricular assist device (VAD) insertions.
It is possible to develop symptoms from Mycobacterium chimaera contamination six months or more after surgery, so it is important to be on the look out for the following symptoms:
* Night sweats
* Pain, redness, heat or pus from your surgical incision
* Muscle aches
* Weight loss that cannot be explained by another illness
* Unexplained fever lasting more than a week.
If a 3T heater-cooler device was used during your surgery, you should receive a letter notifying you of the same from the hospital. If such a device was used in your operating room and you have tested positive for a NTM infection or if you have any of the above-listed symptoms, you should contact your transplant doctor or surgeon, the hospital and the FDA and CDC immediately. Insist on having a mycobacterial culture performed.
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