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Wednesday 26th October 2016

Hepatitis B risk for heart patients

22nd July 2011

More than 150 heart surgery patients in the Swansea area have been told they may have been exposed to the hepatitis B virus.

heart surgery

While the patients who underwent cardiothoracic surgery at the Morriston Hospital between 11 March and 17 April have been assured the risk is low by the ABM University Health Board, all non-emergency cardiac surgery at the hospital has been postponed temporarily until new equipment is installed.

The alert comes after a patient treated at the unit during this period was later diagnosed with an acute hepatitis B infection and died.

The patients involved have been sent letters offering blood tests to check if they have been infected by hepatitis B, which is a viral infection of the liver spread through blood and body fluids.

Transmission from hospital staff, family members and blood products has been ruled out with concerns that the virus may have been transmitted from another patient.

The health board and Public Health Wales are carrying out an investigation and have commissioned an external review.

In a statement the health board said: "We anticipate this temporary suspension of non-urgent cardiac surgery will be for a few days only, until the new equipment arrives.”

The board stressed that only patients who were cardiothoracic patients at Morriston Hospital during this time period are being contacted.

Phil Williams, chief officer of Abertawe Bro Morgannwg Community Health Council (CHC) said: “I can confirm that the family of the patient who sadly died have been in contact with the CHC and are pursuing an official complaint.”


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