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CDC: Surgical Equipment May Be Contaminated With Bacteria

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

Surgical equipment used in open heart surgeries and liver transplants may have been contaminated by the manufacturer.

While infections are rare, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is asking doctors and patients to be vigilant.

More than 250,000 Americans get heart surgery every year and more than half of hospitals use a heating-cooling machine that may have been contaminated with bacteria when it was manufactured.

The bacteria take months or years to grow and cause problems. Patients who have had open heart surgery need to be vigilant for symptoms of infection: Fever, pain, night sweats, fatigue and loss of appetite.

Dr. Michael Bell with the CDC says fans on the machines can blow bacteria into the operating room.

“The problem with that is if those bacteria land on a heart valve that’s about to be implanted or into the surgical wound, there’s a possibility of it causing infection.”

Infections are rare … and serious infections rarer still. But several patients have died, although it’s not clear what role the infection played in their deaths.

Health News Florida reporter Abe Aboraya works for WMFE in Orlando. He started writing for newspapers in high school. After graduating from the University of Central Florida in 2007, he spent a year traveling and working as a freelance reporter for the Seattle Times and the Seattle Weekly, and working for local news websites in the San Francisco Bay area. Most recently Abe worked as a reporter for the Orlando Business Journal. He comes from a family of health care workers.