Open heart surgery device could have infection risk for patients

The Horizon Health Network and the New Brunswick Heart Centre 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. 

Healthcare providers and patients were first warned last October about the potential risk of infection from the Sorin 3T Heater Cooler technology. The device heats and cools blood during open heart surgery and has been linked to a rare bacterial infection known as non-tuberculosis mycobacterium (NTM). 

The 3 units at the NBHC were bleached and the hosing replaced when preliminary tests showed bacteria on the equipment.

Any open heart surgery patient of the NBHC with questions or concerns can contact their family doctor 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.

He says 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. 

This necessary device is used during open heart surgery in most hospitals in Canada as well as in the U-S and Europe.