Send to

Choose Destination
Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 2018 Jul;39(7):834-840. doi: 10.1017/ice.2018.102. Epub 2018 May 28.

Different Types of Heater-Cooler Units and Their Risk of Transmission of Mycobacterium chimaera During Open-Heart Surgery: Clues From Device Design.

Author information

1Division of Infectious Diseases and Hospital Epidemiology,University Hospital Basel,Switzerland.
4Division of Clinical Microbiology,University Hospital Basel,Switzerland.
2Institute of Medical Microbiology,University of Zurich,Switzerland.
6Division of Cardiac Surgery,University Hospital Basel,Switzerland.


OBJECTIVEWorldwide, Mycobacterium chimaera infections have been linked to contaminated aerosols from heater-cooler units (HCUs) during open-heart surgery. These infections have mainly been associated with the 3T HCU (LivaNova, formerly Sorin). The reasons for this and the risk of transmission from other HCUs have not been systematically assessed.DESIGNProspective observational study.SETTINGUniversity Hospital Basel, Switzerland.METHODSContinuous microbiological surveillance of 3 types of HCUs in use (3T from LivaNova/Sorin and HCU30 and HCU40 from Maquet) was initiated in June 2014, coupled with an epidemiologic workup. Monthly water and air samples were taken. Construction design was analyzed, and exhausted airflow was measured.RESULTS Mycobacterium chimaera grew in 8 of 12 water samples (66%) and 22 of 24 air samples (91%) of initial 3T HCUs in use, and in 2 of 83 water samples (2%) and 0 of 41 (0%) air samples of new replacement 3T HCUs. Moreover, 7 of 12 water samples (58%) and 0 of 4 (0%) air samples from the HCU30 were positive, and 0 of 64 (0%) water samples and 0 of 50 (0%) air samples from the HCU40 were positive. We identified 4 relevant differences in HCU design compared to the 3T: air flow direction, location of cooling ventilators, continuous cooling of the water tank at 4°C, and an electronic alarm in the HCU40 reminding the user of the next disinfection cycle.CONCLUSIONSAll infected patients were associated with a 3T HCU. The individual HCU design may explain the different risk of disseminating M. chimaera into the air of the operating room. These observations can help the construction of improved devices to ensure patient safety during cardiac surgery.Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol 2018;834-840.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Cambridge University Press
Loading ...
Support Center