Potential Patient Infection Risk Linked to Heater-Cooler System Used in Cardiac Surgery

Information About Rare Bacterial Infection

All patients who underwent cardiac procedures during the time period of potential risk were notified by BIDMC in December 2016.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are investigating reports that the Stöckert 3T Heater-Cooler System — a device used by hospitals across the nation to heat and cool the blood during surgery — has been linked to a rare bacterial infection caused by Mycobacterium chimaera, a type of bacteria known as nontuberculous mycobacterium (NTM).

The CDC estimates the risk to be less than one percent. BIDMC acted quickly after notification of this issue to eliminate the use of the Stöckert 3T Heater-Cooler System. Out of the thousands of patients who have had open-heart surgery at BIDMC, we are not aware of a single patient who has developed this infection.

Patients who underwent open cardiac procedures during the time period of risk received a letter from BIDMC in December 2016 with more information.

BIDMC has also established a special phone line to respond to specific questions: (617) 975-9770

More information is available on the CDC and FDA websites.