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Transmission of mycobacterium chimaera from heater-cooler units during cardiac surgery despite an ultraclean air ventilation system


Sommerstein, Rami; Rüegg, Christian; Kohler, Philipp; Bloemberg, Guido; Kuster, Stefan P; Sax, Hugo (2016). Transmission of mycobacterium chimaera from heater-cooler units during cardiac surgery despite an ultraclean air ventilation system. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 22(6):1008-1013.

Abstract

Heater-cooler units (HCUs) were recently identified as a source of Mycobacterium chimaera causing surgical site infections. We investigated transmission of this bacterium from HCUs to the surgical field by using a thermic anemometer and particle counter, videotape of an operating room equipped with an ultraclean laminar airflow ventilation system, and bacterial culture sedimentation plates in a nonventilated room. Smoke from the HCU reached the surgical field in 23 s by merging with ultraclean air. The HCU produced on average 5.2, 139, and 14.8 particles/min in the surgical field at positions Off, On/oriented toward, and On/oriented away, respectively. Culture plates were positive for M. chimaera <5 m from the HCU in the test room. These experiments confirm airborne transmission of M. chimaera aerosols from a contaminated HCU to an open surgical field despite ultraclean air ventilation. Efforts to mitigate infectious risks during surgery should consider contamination from water sources and airflow-generating devices.

Abstract

Heater-cooler units (HCUs) were recently identified as a source of Mycobacterium chimaera causing surgical site infections. We investigated transmission of this bacterium from HCUs to the surgical field by using a thermic anemometer and particle counter, videotape of an operating room equipped with an ultraclean laminar airflow ventilation system, and bacterial culture sedimentation plates in a nonventilated room. Smoke from the HCU reached the surgical field in 23 s by merging with ultraclean air. The HCU produced on average 5.2, 139, and 14.8 particles/min in the surgical field at positions Off, On/oriented toward, and On/oriented away, respectively. Culture plates were positive for M. chimaera <5 m from the HCU in the test room. These experiments confirm airborne transmission of M. chimaera aerosols from a contaminated HCU to an open surgical field despite ultraclean air ventilation. Efforts to mitigate infectious risks during surgery should consider contamination from water sources and airflow-generating devices.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Infectious Diseases
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:June 2016
Deposited On:04 Aug 2016 12:56
Last Modified:06 Aug 2017 20:46
Publisher:U.S. National Center for Infectious Diseases
ISSN:1080-6040
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.3201/eid2206.160045
PubMed ID:27070958

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