The CDC and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are investigating reports that a device used 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). For patients who have had one of these surgeries, the chances of getting this infection are very low.

This infection is very slow growing and difficult to diagnose. It is possible to develop symptoms years after surgery, so it is important to know the symptoms to look for. Discuss any symptoms or questions you may have with your primary care doctor. This infection cannot be spread person-to-person.

Symptoms of an NTM infection include:

  • Night sweats
  • Muscle aches
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Unexplained fever

For patients who have had open-chest cardiac surgery and are experiencing any of the above symptoms seek immediate medical care from their provider.

We understand that you and your family might have additional questions or concerns about this information. To help answer them, please call your cardiac surgeon’s office. 

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Updated: 10/14/16