Patients who use the Stöckert heater-cooler device, and their doctors, are being warned about possible bacterial infections involving the device, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced on Thursday.
The device has been indirectly blamed for several deaths, and the association infection can sometimes take years to effect patients.
The Stöckert heater-cooler device is used during open-heart surgeries to help regulate the temperature of patients. According to the CDC, 60 percent of open-heart surgeries use the device.
The CDC rates the risk of infection from the device from 1 in 100 to 1 in 1,000.
Signs of an infection include night sweats, muscle aches, weight loss, fatigue and unexplained fever.
“It’s important for clinicians and their patients to be aware of this risk so that patients can be evaluated and treated quickly,” said Michael Bell, M.D., deputy director of CDC’s Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion. “Hospitals should check to see which type of heater-coolers are in use, ensure that they’re maintained according to the latest manufacturer instructions, and alert affected patients and the clinicians who care for them.”