Following reports in Europe and the United States of infection with Mycobacterium chimaera in patients with heart surgery, the Ministry of Health informs patients who have undergone open heart surgery in Israel or abroad since 2012 about new guidelines.
This is a rare bacterial infection associated with a device that warms and cools the blood during surgery, the Stöckert 3T produced by the German company LivaNova PLC. In Israel, 25 such devices are used in 11 hospitals.
At present, infection with this bacterium is not known as a result of contagion at surgery in Israel.
The risk of infection among the patients is very small, estimated to be less than 1%. In the world is known for several dozen cases of infection in this bacterium associated with open heart surgery.
The bacteria grow slowly and the infection can develop for a long time – even years – after surgery, so it is important to know the symptoms, including unexplained fever, night sweats, muscle pain, weight loss and fatigue.
Patients who suffer from these symptoms, without any definite diagnosis, have undergone open heart surgery since 2012, the Ministry of Health recommends to contact your doctor to discuss the possibility of infection with this bacteria.
In parallel to this announcement, the Ministry of Health instructed hospital managers and health maintenance organization, (HMO) to inform medical teams about the reports of infections worldwide, and the need to be aware of the possibility of contamination from this source in an open heart surgery patient suffering from these symptoms.
In addition, the Ministry has instructed to take safety measures, as is done by health authorities around the world, in order to prevent the risk of infection with this bacteria in future surgeries.
- I did an operation in 2012 – what should I do?
If you feel well, you do not have to do anything. If you have prolonged unexplained symptoms of unexplained fever, night sweats, muscle pain, weight loss, fatigue, please consult your physician.
- If I did surgery in 2010 I’m "OK"?
Yes, there are no reports of illness after such a long period since surgery.
- Who should I go to? To the HMO or the hospital?
The doctor, if necessary, he will refer you to an appropriate specialist for a clear continuation.
- Is there another surgery at risk or just open heart surgery?
The device is used only in open heart surgery and therefore the risk is only for those who underwent this surgery.
- What is the rare bacteria? Why can it cause?
It is an environmental bug that can live in water, and only very rarely causes infection. The infection is manifested in a general disease whose signs are listed above.
- I may be sweating at night, I have muscle pain and I am after surgery and still everything is okay with me?
In any case of prolonged symptoms, consult your doctor.
- May I have been operated on another device?
Yes, but most of the devices in Israel and around the world are from the model in question.