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Open Heart Surgery Infection Warning

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) notified Avera Heart Hospital about the risk of infection that has been linked to certain heater-cooler devices that were used during open heart surgeries at Avera Heart Hospital between October IS, 2012 and October 13, 2016. The infection that has been associated with these devices is known as non-tuberculous mycobacterium/ or NTM. The bacteria involved are commonly found in water and soil. In most cases/ this infection an be treated with antibiotics.

The CDC estimates the infection risk to be less than 1%. Of all patients at Avera Heart Hospital who have had open heart surgery we are aware of no patients who have developed this infection.

Frequently Asked Question(FAQs)

What do I need to do now?

If you are among the patients who had open heart surgery at Avera Heart Hospital between October 15, 2012 and October 13, 2016, you should have received a letter from the hospital. This letter explains the symptoms to look for if an infection develops.

What symptoms should I look for?

It is important to know the symptoms to look for so you can discuss any symptoms or questions you may have with your primary care doctor. Symptoms of an NTM infection could include: night sweats; muscle aches; weight loss; fatigue or unexplained fever.

If I develop this infection, could it spread to my family?

No; this infection cannot be spread person-to-person.

If I've been exposed to NTM bacteria, what are the chances that I have, or will get, this infection?

The chances of acquiring this infection are extremely low. Currently, none of the patients who had open heart surgery at Avera Heart Hospital have acquired the infection.

Who can I contact if I have questions?

We have a registered nurse that is available during regular business hours at 1-605-977-7175 who would be pleased to answer any questions and, if indicated, arrange an appointment with one of our providers.

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Avera is a health ministry rooted in the Gospel. Our mission is to make a positive impact in the lives and health of persons and communities by providing quality services guided by Christian values.

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