Heart Surgery Heater-Cooler Infection Problems Could Have Been Avoided

Harvey Kirk

By Harvey Kirk
Posted July 27, 2017

UPDATE: Saiontz & Kirk, P.A. is no longer reviewing new cases against the manufacturer of the 3T Heater-Cooler. However, potential claims for medical malpractice are being evaluated against hospitals that failed to follow proper safety instructions provided in recent years.

The manufacturers of the certain Heater Cooler Systems, which are commonly used to control blood temperature during open heart surgery, failed to take basic steps that could have avoided contamination problems.

As a result, individuals throughout the United States have been exposed to a risk of severe and life-threatening heart surgery heater-cooler infections, including M. Chimaera, M. Abscessus and other Nontuberculous Mycobacteria (NTM) infections.

The lawyers at Saiontz & Kirk, P.A. provide free consultations and case evaluations for individuals who believe they may have been exposed to a contaminated heart surgery heater-cooler, or been diagnosed with a debilitating infection that may not surface until months after:

  • Cardiac Bypass Surgery
  • Valve Replacement Surgery
  • Other Open Heart Procedures

Based on information uncovered during the investigation of these cases, it appears increasingly clear that these heart surgery heater-cooler infection problems could have been avoided.

Heart Surgery Heater-Cooler Problems

Illnesses and wrongful deaths reported nationwide could have been prevented if proper disinfecting instructions had been provided, as well as other steps that may have avoided contamination.

An FDA inspection in 2011 found that the company’s original instruction called for the devices to be disinfected every 14 days. However, investigators warned that bacterial overgrowth could occur well in excess of safety standards in just one and a half days.

According to information uncovered in recent months, the manufacturers admitted to FDA investigators that the heater-cooler cleaning instructions were not compliant with U.S. standards, and that it had no data to support the 14 day disinfection instructions it gave to U.S. customers.

The FDA has determined that the manufacturer failed to conduct a proper risk assessment, but the company suggested that the risk of patient infection had not been considered because it was determined to not be of concern.

In June 2017, a study presented at the Annual Conference of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) warned that more than one-third of all Heater Cooler Systems, used in thousands of hospitals worldwide, may be contaminated with M. Chimaera.

The study, conducted by researchers with the Special Pathogens Laboratory between July 2015 and December 2016, looked at 89 different systems, finding 33 of them to be contaminated.

Heater Cooler Infection Lawsuits

Due to the defective and unreasonably dangerous design of the certain Heater-Coolers, together with failure to provide proper warnings and instructions, the system may colonize bacteria and transmit it to heart surgery patients during the invasive procedures.

Financial compensation may be available through heart surgery heater-cooler infection lawsuits since it appears that these problems were avoidable. The manufacturers failed to conduct basic risk assessment and failed to properly instruct hospitals on how to properly disinfect the heater-coolers. Furthermore, the infections appear to track back to the manufacturing facility itself, indicating that bacteria controls were inadequate at the very place the devices were made.

UPDATE: Saiontz & Kirk, P.A. is no longer reviewing new cases against the manufacturer of the 3T Heater-Cooler. However, potential claims for medical malpractice are being evaluated against hospitals that failed to follow proper safety instructions provided in recent years.

To review a potential case for yourself or a loved one, request a free consultation and claim evaluation.

5 Comments • Add Your Comments

  • Betty says:

    Sir. I had a stent put in my heart in 2013 and 2014 I had open heart I had a test done but say it was no bacteria find at this time

    Posted on August 10, 2017 at 8:17 pm

  • Percell says:

    Well my husband got a open heart surgery did end July 30th 2017 Heart Failure. Fluid may back up into your lungs oryou may swelling (edema) in your lower legs.He was discharged on July 31th 2017. After 4 years they got go back end place a other one end him.it been 2years now for the one they had put end their so i quess next years they be put a other one end their.my husband is 62 years old i dont know how he going come out on this one i am a fraid something might go wrong you never know

    Posted on March 16, 2018 at 4:42 am

  • Cheryl says:

    In 1996 I had a mitral valve replaced with a staiess steal st
    Judes valve ,was told that I had a very bad infection and was put on a number of antibiotic thru a iv for several months while I remand in icu.

    Posted on November 7, 2018 at 3:27 pm

  • Scott says:

    Had open heart double bypass at indianapolis va hospital

    Posted on March 23, 2019 at 1:07 am

  • Heather says:

    I had heart surgery when I was 5, 1994 had to have another procedure because of the damage

    Posted on May 7, 2019 at 11:50 am

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