Mycobacterium chimaera and Heater-Cooler Devices - Information update for NSW GPs

23 January 2017

NSW Health has confirmed the first Mycobacterium chimaera case in the state following exposure to the rare infection from open heart surgery equipment.

Last year NSW Health contacted patients who may have been exposed to the M chimaera infection from open heart surgery equipment used in four NSW public hospitals. The equipment, used in countries around the world, is thought to have been contaminated during manufacture.

A NSW patient who underwent heart valve surgery in 2015 at Prince of Wales Hospital and who was hospitalised with a serious febrile illness has now been confirmed as having an M. chimaera infection around the valve prosthesis. The patient has responded well to combination antimicrobials and has been discharged.

Information update for NSW General Practitioners

  1. The first confirmed case of M. chimaera infection related to contaminated heater-cooler units has been reported in NSW.
  2. Contamination of LivaNova (Sorin) heater-cooler devices with Mycobacterium chimaera has been associated with serious infections post open cardiac surgery in many countries.
  3. Consider the possibility of M. chimaera infection in patients presenting 3 months to 5 years post cardiac surgery with symptoms of unexplained infection.

Further information

For details about how the M. chimaera infection present and how the infection should be treated, read the following information from NSW Health: