Some open heart surgery patients at risk for infection
Patients who have had open heart surgery performed since 2012 may be at risk for a certain type of infection, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC says machines commonly used during surgery, the Stöckert 3T, may have been contaminated during manufacturing, leading to infections that may have contributed to 28 deaths nationwide.
The infection is known as non-tuberculosis Mycobacterium (NTM). Symptoms of the infection include night sweats, muscle aches, weight loss, fatigue and unexplained fever.
Officials with St. Joseph's Regional Medical Center in Paterson sent letters to heart surgery patients for the last nine years warning them about the potential risks. No infections have been reported at that hospital.
Dr. Mark Connelly says that the machine is often used in surgery and circulates cold water to cool down the patient's body temperature.
"When we're getting close to finishing the operation and getting the heart started up again, we heat the patient's body back up," Connelly says.
The CDC says that more than 250,000 open heart surgeries are performed each year and the Stöckert 3Tmachines are used in most of them.
Anyone who has had open heart surgery since 2012 is urged to consult their doctor.