Diversity and sources of rapidly growing mycobacteria associated with infections following cardiac surgery

James M. Musser, Sheila I. Hull, Vella A. Silcox, Lorraine C. Steele, Gene D. Forrester, Abdelhakim Labidi, Robert K. Selander

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

130 Scopus citations


Eighty-nine isolates of rapidly growing mycobacteria associated with cardiac bypass-related infections were characterized. Isolates from sporadic infections belonged to eight taxonomic groups and displayed numerous multilocus enzyme genotypes, plasmid profiles, and heavy metal and antibiotic resistance patterns. Compared with 449 noncardiac wound isolates, 45 sporadic cardiac isolates were more likely to be Mycobacterium fortuitum and M. smegmatis and less likely to be M. chelonae. About 80% of cardiac and noncardiac isolates were from southern coastal states. Eight outbreaks of cardiac bypass-related infections were identified. Strains from each outbreak were genotypically distinctive, and five outbreaks involved more than one strain. In two outbreaks, isolates from environmental sources and noncardiac infections were similar or identical to isolates from sternal wound infections. The heterogeneity of these isolates suggests that most isolates are unrelated and are derived from local environmental sources rather than from contaminated commercial surgical materials or devices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)708-716
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Infectious Diseases
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Infectious Diseases


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