Heater Cooler Infection MDLAugust 15, 2017 — A woman from Iowa has filed a class action lawsuit alleging that the Stӧckert 3T heater-cooler machine made by Sorin/LivaNova exposed her to a potentially deadly bacteria.

The class action lawsuit (PDF) was filed by Jeri Pickrell on behalf of everyone in the state of Iowa who was unknowingly exposed to M. chimaera, M. abscessus, and other type of potentially fatal Non-Tuberculosis Mycobacterium (“NTM bacteria”) during open heart surgery.

The exposures were transmitted through a Sorin/LivaNova Stӧckert 3T Heater-Cooler System, which is a machine that is used in the operating room to regulate a patient’s blood temperature during open-heart surgery.

The class of plaintiffs includes patients who had open-heart surgery or valve replacements at two hospitals, Mercy Medical Center (“Mercy”) and University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics (“UIHC”).

In February 2016, UIHC announced that approximately 1,500 patients who had major heart, lung, or liver surgeries between January 1, 2012 and January 22, 2016 had been exposed to a potentially fatal bacteria.

In August 2016, Mercy Medical Center announced that 2,600 of its patients who had open heart surgery between July 1, 2012 and July 1, 2016 had been exposed to a potentially fatal bacteria during surgery.

Because M. chimaera and other NTM bacteria grow very slowly, the symptoms of an infection can appear as soon as 2 weeks, or as late as 5 years after exposure. The symptoms include fever, pain, redness, heat or pus around the surgical incision, night sweats, joint or muscle pain, and fatigue.

The class action lawsuit was filed on May 31, 2017 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Iowa — In RE: Jeri Pickrell et al. v. LivaNova PLC et al.Case 4:17-cv-00191-CRW-CFB.

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