The Stockert 3T Heater–Cooler is used to regulate a patient’s body temperature during surgery. This device is typically used during open-heart or chest surgeries. The Stockert 3T works by heating or cooling water in separate tanks, and then feeds the temperature controlled water to blankets or heat exchangers which regulate a patient’s body temperature. This system is closed-circuit so the water in the device itself does not come into direct contact with the patient.
However, the potential exists for the water inside this device to allow for the growth of a non-tuberculosis mycobacteria (also known as NTM) called M. Chimarea. The bacteria-filled water from this device can turn into a gas and become airborne and pass through the device’s exhaust vent contaminating the otherwise sterile surgical environment. The surgical site can become infected with NTM leading to a potentially fatal infection.