Elimination of Mycobacterium chimaera in a heater cooler device used during on-pump cardiothoracic surgery

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Since 2014, several infections with non-tuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) belonging to the species Mycobacterium (M.) chimaera have been associated with the use of heater-cooler devices during on-pump cardiothoracic surgery both in European countries and the United States of America. Infections have been detected after surgery, with a delay of a few months and up to five years. Bacterial contamination of heater-cooler devices has also been described without any associated infections.

In many centres, it has been a challenging task to eliminate NTM from the heater-cooler devices in order to reduce the risk to patients.

In this case-report, we describe how we managed to achieve negative cultures for M. chimaera by changing the cleaning procedure of the Sorin Group Heater-Cooler System with three tanks.

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