April 20, 2017 4:54 pm

Horizon Health warns about infection risk for N.B. Heart Centre open heart surgery patients

Horizon Health Network and the New Brunswick Heart Centre are informing open heart surgery patients of a potential, but very low infection risk related to their procedures.

Getty Images
A A

The 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 past surgery.

READ MORE: NSHA warns about low infection risk regarding heart surgeries in NS

Story continues below

According to a release, patients that underwent open heart surgery between November 2012 and November 2016 at the NBHC have a less than 1 in 1,000 risk of encountering an infection related to the procedure.

Horizon says the problem has come from a device called the “Sorin 3T Heater Cooler”. The device is used during open heart surgery to heat and cool blood. Recently, it has been linked to a rare bacterial infection called non-tuberculosis mycobacterium (NTM). They believe this could have come from being contaminated during manufacturing.

This device, which is necessary for open heart surgeries, is used in most hospitals in Canada, the United States and Europe, according to the release. The NBHC currently has three of these.

Preliminary testing of the NBHC units returned positive and Horizon took immediate steps to bleach the units and replace hosing. The original samples were analyzed further and determined it to be NTM.

However, Dr. Jean-François Légaré said the risk of infection is still very low.

“We are not aware of any patients who have developed such an infection following surgery at the New Brunswick Heart Centre,” said Légaré, clinical head of cardiac surgery at the NBHC, in a press release.

READ MORE: Open-heart surgery patients at Montreal Heart Institute could suffer infections

“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.”

Anyone with questions or concerns are recommended to contact their family doctor or curse, or call toll-free at 1-844-428-6242.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Report an error

Comments

Want to discuss? Please read our Commenting Policy first.