Skip to main content

If you had heart surgery at El Camino Health since January 1, 2012, you received a letter informing you about a potential infection risk related to this surgery. You may have been placed on cardiopulmonary bypass during surgery which used a device (Sorin 3T Heater / Cooler) to heat and cool your blood during the surgery.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have recently found that this device has been linked to a rare bacterial infection caused by Mycobacterium chimaera, a type of bacteria known as nontuberculous mycobacterium (NTM). The CDC estimates the risk to be less than 1 percent. At this time, El Camino Health is not aware of any patients being affected at our hospitals.

This infection is very slow-growing and sometimes difficult to diagnose. It is possible to develop symptoms anywhere from several months to as long as 5 years after surgery. This infection cannot be spread person-to-person.

We care about your health and the wellness of our patients. We want you to be aware of this information, and as a precaution, we want you to know the symptoms associated with possible infection. We urge you to contact your primary care provider if you are experiencing any of these symptoms so you can be properly evaluated.

Symptoms of an NTM infection include:

  • night sweats
  • muscle aches
  • weight loss
  • fatigue
  • unexplained fever

Both the CDC and the FDA believe the chances of patients getting this infection are very low, and that the benefits of heart surgery with cardiopulmonary bypass outweigh the risks in appropriately selected patients.

If you would like additional information, below are links to additional resources.


El Camino Health is a nonprofit organization with campuses in Mountain View, California and Los Gatos, California. Our hospitals have served communities in the South San Francisco Bay Area for over 50 years.

Learn more at

Our Silicon Valley campuses:

  • Mountain View Hospital
    2500 Grant Road, Mountain View, CA 94040

  • El Camino Los Gatos Hospital
    815 Pollard Road, Los Gatos, CA 95032