University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics alerts 1,500 patients to bacterial infection risk

The University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics has sent infection risk letters to roughly 1,500 patients after one patient was diagnosed with a potentially deadly bacterial infection linked to a surgical heating-cooling machine used at the hospital.

Theresa Brennan, MD, UIHC cardiologist and CMO, told The Gazette the hospital was informed of the patient's diagnosis Jan. 19, and connected the infection to the heating-cooling device the following day. By Jan. 23, the hospital replaced their four old devices with new equipment and increased maintenance and disinfecting procedures. Given these measures, UI officials said they are confident "the risk of this bacterial exposure has been eliminated," according to the report.

UHIC began sending out letters this week to 1,500 of its patients treated between Jan. 1, 2012, and Jan. 22 who may have been exposed to infections related to the devices. Thus far, the hospital has only identified a device-related infection in the one patient.

According to The Gazette, UHIC has not provided many details on the patient's diagnosis, including what type of surgical procedure the patient underwent and whether he or she has been treated for the infection.

UIHC released a statement on the potential infection risk, saying, "We regret that any patient within our care could be affected by this situation and apologize for any concern it causes. We are absolutely committed to making sure our patients have the information and care they need."

The Iowa City-based organization is not the first to experience issues with heating-cooling machines used during major surgical procedures; machines manufactured by medical device company LivaNova were linked to deaths at WellSpan York (Pa.) Hospital in October and Penn State Hershey Medical Center in November.



More articles on heating-cooling devices:
FDA moves to halt shipping from device manufacturer linked to patient deaths
Cincinnati Sub-Zeros response to FDAs medical device safety communication regarding NTM
Penn State Hershey Medical Center contacts 2,300 open-heart surgery patients who may be at risk of infection

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