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Atlee Hall Keeps Informed of NTM Infection Outbreaks in Other States

As noted in previous articles posted on this website, Nontuberculous Mycobacteria (NTM) infections have been found in surgical patients of two local hospitals and are associated with heater-cooler devices used during open heart surgeries. NTM is a potentially fatal bacterial infection which has, just recently, been discovered at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.

At UIHC, the specific strain of NTM bacteria is the very same bacteria found in the local hospitals, i.e., M. chimaera. The source for contamination is also similar– it is suspected that spray from the fan of a heater-cooler device used to control the temperature of blood during a cardiac bypass, contaminated both the operating field as well as implant, whether that be an assist-device, a vascular graft, or a new (tissue or mechanical) heart valve.

Although only one patient at UIHC is known to be affected, it has been reported that the chief quality officer of UIHC indicated “this is probably just the tip of the iceberg.” The patient found at UIHC had extensive examinations and tests, which included a bone-marrow biopsy. The bone marrow biopsy revealed the patient was infected with M. chimaera that likely came from the device used during surgery.

Atlee Hall continues to monitor the discovery of NTM outbreaks throughout Pennsylvania as well as elsewhere. We continue to keep apprised of all breaking medical news in an effort to assist our clients who have been affected by these outbreaks.