How to Detect Non-Tuberculosis Mycobacterial Contamination that is Putting Open-Heart Surgery Patients at Risk?

It is the question many healthcare professionals are – or should – be concerned with in the light of recent events. To protect their cardiac patients, it is essential for healthcare practitioners to evaluate their heater / cooler units for NTM (non-tuberculosis mycobacterial) contamination.

There is a growing number of reported cases concerning NTM infection in the operating rooms:

  • Health Canada identified NTM Bacterial infection concern in 12 models of heater/cooler units.
  • Quebec doctors have already reported at least two cases of NTM infection.
  • CDC estimates that in hospitals where at least one infection has been identified, the risk of a patient getting an infection from the bacteria was between about 1 in 100 and 1 in 1,000.

The Key: Evaluate Water and Air in Contact with the Heater/Cooler Units

NTM is caused by Mycobacterium chimaera – a slow growing NTM that is a member of the Mycobacterium avium complex, which is widespread in nature and can be found in soil and water, including drinking water sources. The contamination can spread through water and air. Heater-cooler devices include water tanks that provide temperature-controlled water to external heat exchangers or warming/cooling blankets through closed circuits.

Harris Environmental Management can help you establish safe operating procedures.

Our team of professionals is experienced in evaluating water and air for NTM microbial contamination and has created the sampling protocol used in some Ontario Hospitals. Our senior staff are experts in the field of microbiology and have specialized in issues concerning NTM.

Contact us for a free consultation to get a custom solution!

About T. Harris Environmental Management Inc.

We are a leading Canadian environmental consulting firm in the fields of environmental services, hazardous materials management, industrial hygiene, and occupational health and safety. Our professional staff serve a wide range of clientele including commercial, government, industrial institutional, and residential. We are passionate about health and safety and committed to excellence. For more than 35 years, we continue to provide high quality services, taking pride in building long-term relationships with our clients. We are dedicated to understanding your concerns and meeting your needs by delivering efficient, cost-effective solutions.