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Open heart surgery medical devices could have infection risk for patients

(HORIZON) April 20, 2017 - Horizon Health Network (Horizon) and the New Brunswick Heart Centre (NBHC) are notifying open heart surgery patients about a potential, but very low infection risk related to their surgery. Patients who underwent open heart surgery at the NBHC between November 2012 and November 2016 have a less than one in one thousand infection risk related to their surgery. 

Last October, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) began warning healthcare providers and patients about the potential risk of infection from the Sorin 3T Heater Cooler technology. The device, used to heat and cool blood during open heart surgery, has been linked to a rare bacterial infection known as non-tuberculosis mycobacterium (NTM). The device could have been contaminated during manufacturing which could put patients at risk for infections. The NBHC has three of these units. 

When preliminary tests for bacteria on the equipment at the NBHC were found to be positive, Horizon took immediate action to bleach the units and replace the hosing according to the manufacturer's instructions. Further analysis of the original samples determined it to be NTM bacteria. Subsequent testing results following the bleaching in November have been negative. 

Any open heart surgery patient of the NBHC with questions or concerns can contact their family physician or nurse practitioner or call toll-free, 1-844-428-6242. 

Dr. Jean-François Légaré, Clinical Head of Cardiac Surgery at the NBHC confirmed the risk of contracting an infection is very low. 

"We are not aware of any patients who have developed such an infection following surgery at the New Brunswick Heart Centre," he said. "Fewer than a handful of cases have been identified in Canada over the last five years and no cases have been identified in New Brunswick to date." 

This necessary device is used during open heart surgery in most hospitals in Canada as well as in the United States and Europe. 

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For more information contact:

Stephanie Neilson-Levesque
Media Relations
1-877-499-1899
Media@HorizonNB.ca
www.HorizonNB.ca                 

 



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