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Bacteria transfer during open-heart surgery infecting patients, often with fatal results

Bacterial infection

(NaturalNews) Twelve patients who had open heart surgery at a Pennsylvania hospital last year were infected with a rare bacterium that takes months to manifest symptoms. Six of the infected patients from WellSpan York Hospital became very ill and passed away, warranting a federal investigation into the matter. Investigators found that the bacteria spread from the exhaust vent of a heater cooler machine used during open heart surgery.

Device used in heart surgery releasing infectious bacteria into the air

The specialized device, called a Sorin Stockert 3T, was contaminated with mycobacterium chimaera, a bacterium that is usually found in soil and water. Using genetic clues from microbial samples taken from 11 patients and five devices, investigators from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Pennsylvania Health Department traced the origins of the contamination back to a machine manufacturer in Germany. They also found similar infection clusters in Europe and at a hospital in Iowa.

WellSpan York Hospital has notified 1,300 open-heart surgery patients of potentially infectious surgeries performed between Oct. 1, 2011 and July 24, 2015. "We are committed to ensuring our patients have all the information, care and treatment they need regarding this issue," said Keith Noll, senior vice president at WellSpan Health, and president of WellSpan York Hospital. "We know that the news of this potential risk of infection may be concerning to our open-heart patients, and we sincerely regret any distress that it may create for those patients and their families."

The specialized devices are used in 60 percent of the 250,000 open heart surgeries performed each year in the U.S., though patients may be able to ask for an alternative where one is available. The CDC's Dr. Michael Bell said that there is a 1-in-100 to a 1-in-1000 chance that a patient undergoing open heart surgery will be infected in hospitals where the infection has been identified. LivaNova, the London-based company that owns the German manufacturer, has contacted all the hospitals that own one of their machines.

Compromised immunity means hospital patients are often unable to fight off infection

These types of infections have fatal outcomes in hospitals, because patients often have compromised immune systems. When the immune system is weak and suppressed due to medications, toxicity and nutrient deficiency, the body's fever is neither strong nor effective, which allows the infection to spread. If the body is weak at the cellular level, then there is not enough energy to go around for fighting the infection. If the mycobacterium chimaera infection takes control over the terrain of the human body, then harsher symptoms persist, including weight loss and joint pain that can take over the patient's life.

Hospitals are high risk zones for bacterial infections that can become fatal. Most hospital patients are taking antibiotics, which are proven to weaken the microbiome of patients and of the surrounding, external terrain, making themselves and others nearby more susceptible to infections in the future. A weakened microbiome, nutrient deficiencies and cellular toxicity create a nightmare scenario for patients seeking help at a hospital.

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