Roughly 2200 former London Health Sciences Centre open heart surgery patients may have been exposed to bacteria, possibly causing infection.

Although the hospital claims the risk is low, patients will be notified through a letter.

Some heating-cooling units used in the procedure have been linked to a mycobacterium chimaera infection.

“Thankfully, the risk of infection is less than one per cent and the risks of not having the surgery far outweigh the risk of infection,” says Dr. Michael John, director, infection prevention and control, LHSC in a news release.

“We took immediate steps to update all of our protocols for the device based on new recommendations and we are not aware of any patients who have developed this infection following open heart surgery at LHSC to date.”

Patients are being asked to watch for the following symptoms:

  • Night sweats
  • Muscle aches
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Unexplained fever and redness, heat, or pus around the sternal surgical incision

Patients with any of the symptoms or who have been diagnosed with sarcoidosis since their heart surgery are advised to contact their family doctor.

Patients can also contact the hospital at 1-844-358-1050 if they choose.