Researchers in Switzerland are urging more guidance on invasive infections from the aerosolization of Mycobacterium chimaera (M. chimaera) from contaminated heater-cooler devices during cardiac surgery.

Healio reports that M. chimaera is a slow-growing species of nontuberculosis mycobacteria commonly found in soil and water, according to the CDC. Although it rarely makes people sick, symptoms of infection can be general and nonspecific and are often delayed, the CDC said.

Researchers have issued recommendations to limit the number of heater-cooler device (HCD)–related M. chimaera infections, including removing the devices from ORs and other critical care areas to keep patients from being infected by contaminated exhaust air.

HCDs regulate body temperature during cardiothoracic surgeries and other medical procedures, according to Healio, and are used in more than 250,000 procedures in the US every year. The CDC estimated that in hospitals where at least one HCD–related infection has been identified, the risk of a patient being infected with M. chimaera was between approximately one in 100 to one in 1,000, Healio reported.