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Pneumologie. 2019 May 10. doi: 10.1055/a-0872-8809. [Epub ahead of print]

[Epidemiology, Clinical Presentation, Diagnosis and Treatment of Infections Caused by Mycobacterium chimaera].

[Article in German; Abstract available in German from the publisher]

Author information

Institut für Medizinische Mikrobiologie und Hygiene, Universitätsklinikum des Saarlandes, Homburg, Deutschland.
Schweizerisches Tropen- und Public Health-Institut, Basel, Schweiz.
Universität Basel, Basel, Schweiz.
Klinik für Thorax- und Herz-Gefäßchirurgie, Universitätsklinikum des Saarlandes, Homburg, Deutschland.
Klinik für Innere Medizin V, Pneumologie, Allergologie, Beatmungs- und Umweltmedizin, Universitätsklinikum des Saarlandes, Homburg, Deutschland.


in English, German

The recognition, correct diagnosis and adequate clinical management of infections caused by atypical mycobacteria are challenging tasks in clinical practice. Invasive infections caused by Mycobacterium chimaera, a member of the Mycobacterium avium-intracellulare complex, have been increasingly reported over the past few years. Most infections occurred in patients who had undergone open-chest cardiothoracic surgery. Epidemiological and molecular studies showed that transmission of M. chimaera occurred through intraoperative aerosols derived from contaminated heater-cooler units, i. e. devices that are used to enable the extracardiac circuit in cardiothoracic surgery. Thus far, approximately 120 patient cases have been reported worldwide. The latency between exposure and onset of clinical symptoms may comprise several years. Clinical manifestations of M. chimaera infections include not only endocarditis and implant-associated infections, but also non-cardiac entities such as sarcoidosis-like symptoms, vertebral osteomyelitis and chorioretinitis. The pathogen can be detected in blood culture vials and in surgically obtained specimens from affected tissues, if specific microbiological tests for detection of mycobacteria are employed. There are no simple-to-use screening tests and a high clinical index of suspicion is thus mandatory in patients with previous exposure and compatible signs and symptoms. The successful treatment of M. chimaera infections requires the removal of infected devices and prolonged combination therapy with antimycobacterial drugs. This review summarises the clinical relevance, epidemiology, symptomatology, diagnosis and treatment of infections caused by M. chimaera, with a specific focus on pneumological aspects.


Conflict of interest statement

F. Trudzinski hat Vortragshonorare und Reisekostenerstattungen von den Firmen Novartis, Berlin-Chemie erhalten. R. Bals erhielt Forschungszuwendung oder Kostenerstattungen von AstraZeneca, Boeringer Ingelheim, GlaxoSmithKleine, Grifols, Novartis, CSL Behring, German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) Competence Network Asthma and COPD (ASCONET), Wilhelm Sander Stiftung, Schwiete Stiftung, Krebshilfe, Mukoviszidose e. V. Alle ohne direkten Bezug zur Arbeit. S. Becker hat Vortragshonorare und Reisekostenerstattungen von den Firmen Actelion Pharmaceuticals und Pfizer erhalten. H.-J. Schäfers und U. Schlottauer geben an, dass kein Interessenkonflikt besteht.

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