Heart-surgery patients at risk of infection at WellSpan York Hospital, with eight cases having been confirmed.
Patients undergoing open-heart surgery at the WellSpan York Hospital may be at risk of bacterial infection. The bacterial cultures were found to be developing in the heating-cooling devices attached to the bypass equipment. The announcement came on Monday, with eight cases having been confirmed.
According to official statements, four heart-surgery patients have passed away. The bacterial infection is likely to have contributed to their death. The announcement came as the investigation of the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed the results.
Earlier in October, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration had already issues a communication concerning the safety of the equipment. The evidence supporting the communication was related to 32 reports of similar heating-cooling devices contaminations registered worldwide. The reports have been registered since January 2010. The majority of device contaminations were reported in Europe.
Contamination of medical equipment such as the heating-cooling devices attached to the bypass equipment went largely unknown until now within the medical community. It is unclear how many devices are actually contaminated, not only with the WellSpan York Hospital. The reason adding up to the imprecise number is that heart-surgery patients may develop bacterial infection symptoms after longer periods of time have passed since the surgical intervention.
In these cases, it remains difficult to establish a link. Follow-up analyses with the 32 contamination reports worldwide have linked half of the reports to illness reported by patients.
The heating-cooling devices in the WellSpan York Hospital harbored bacteria in the water that is used to establish blood temperatures. While the water circulated via closed circuits, the bacteria present in the water will be eliminated via the exhaust vent.
In response to this finding, official letters have been sent to 1,300 patients of the hospital who have undergone open-heart surgery in the past four years.
While an inspection revealed that the devices’ manufacturer guidelines and the cleaning protocols of the hospital did not match, the WellSpan York Hospital has replaced the devices in July this year. Heart-surgery patients at risk of infection at WellSpan York Hospital are deemed only those patients who have undergone the surgical intervention before this date.
The official statement of the hospital insists that the risk is no longer there.
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