Monday, 03 April 2017 07:07

Hot Topics in Clinical Microbiology: Surgical Infections

Written by 

Most surgeries are accompanied with a very low risk of infection, for a variety of reasons. This specific type of hospital-acquired infection can arise in the surgical site or as part of the surgical procedure. In 2011, over 150,000 people suffered surgical-site infections in the United States, but the overall decreasing trend of surgical-site infections demonstrates the seriousness with which medical practitioners and clinical microbiologists are taking this issue. 

April’s Hot Topic* in Clinical Microbiology is a special case of surgery-associated infection, stemming from the heater-cooler unit used during the procedure. Presented by Dr. Alice Weissfeld, the Sorin 3T is a ‘heart lung machine’ used during major cardiac surgeries to maintain blood flow and oxygenation. In 2015, a number of heart surgery patients were diagnosed with Mycobacterium chimaera, a member of the M. avium complex. In an audio recording, Weissfeld addresses:

  • The safety of the Sorin 3T, which underwent a Class II recall.
  • What to do should an index case be identified.
  • The biology of M. chimaera.

View the slides and listen to the audio explanation to hear the details about this case.

Hot Topic: The Story of Open Heart Surgery, Heater-Cooler Units, and Mycobacterium chimaera.

*Hot Topics are presentations available as a benefit of ASM membership. Not a member? Signing up is quick and easy if you follow this link. If you are a trainee with a few friends who also wish to become members, joining together gives you a 20% discount if you follow this link. 


Clin Micro ProceduresClinical Microbiology Procedures Handbook, 4th. Ed..

CDI diagnostics have also been covered frequently in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology, with a number of reports published in the first three months of 2017. One major area these studies have focused on is how best to predict who might develop disease symptoms due to CDI:

Infection prevention and diagnosis both during surgery and during the healing process are very important for patient safety. ASM offers a number of resources to learn best practices around prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of surgical infections:


Last modified on Monday, 03 April 2017 09:11