Alert: Mycobacterium chimaera Infections From Heater-Cooler Units During Cardiac Surgery
Mycobacterium chimaera has been shown to cause post-surgery cardiac infections. Because of the design of certain O.R. heater-cooler units ("HCUs"), infections of this sort have been on the increase. Recent studies show that numerous post-op infections have occurred in hospital O.R. units. The units have left mycobacterium rates so high that additional studies have been done. Some have concluded that that the design of the ventilation systems has been a major factor in contaminating the O.R. and other post-op sites. "The design quality of ultraclean air ventilation systems has been reported to be a major factor in their protection function." Sommerstein et al, "Transmission of Mycobacterium chimaera from Heater-Cooler Units during Cardiac Surgery despite an Ultraclean Air Ventilation System," 22 Research No. 6 (June 2016). Those HCU designs not only fail to clean the air, they may actually contaminate the surgical site with organisms blown through the cooling unit.