Display Settings:


Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Circulation. 1997 Apr 15;95(8):2098-107.

Systemic infection related to endocarditis on pacemaker leads: clinical presentation and management.

Author information

  • 1Service de Cardiologie A, Hôpital Cardiologique de Lille, France.



Endocarditis related to pacemaker (PM)-lead infection is a rare but serious complication of permanent transvenous pacing. To determine in which situations the diagnosis should be evoked and to determine optimal management, we reviewed our experience with endocarditis related to PM-lead infection.


Fifty-two patients were admitted for endocarditis related to PM-lead infection. The presentation was acute in 14 patients, with onset of symptoms in the first 6 weeks after the last procedure on the implant site, and chronic in 38 patients. Fever occurred in 86.5%. Clinical and/or radiological evidences of pulmonary involvement were observed in 38.4%. Pulmonary scintigraphy disclosed pulmonary infarcts in 31.2%. Local complications were found in 51.9%. Elevated C-reactive protein was found in 96.2%. A germ was isolated in 88.4% of patients and was a Staphylococcus in 93.5%. Transthoracic echocardiography demonstrated vegetations in only 23% of patients, whereas transesophageal echocardiography disclosed abnormal appearances on the PM lead in 94%. We systematically tried to ablate all the material. Two techniques were used: percutaneous ablation or surgical removal during extracorporeal circulation. All patients were treated with antibiotics after removal of the infected material. Two patients died before lead removal and 2 after surgical removal; the predischarge mortality was 7.6%, and the overall mortality was 26.9% after a follow-up of 20.1+/-13 months.


The diagnosis of endocarditis related to PM-lead infection should be suspected in the presence of fever, complications, or pulmonary lesions after PM insertion. Transesophageal echocardiography should be performed to look for vegetations. Staphylococci are involved in the majority of these infections. The endocardial system must be entirely removed and appropriate antibiotic therapy pursued for 6 weeks.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Icon for HighWire
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk