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Am J Cardiol. 2001 Oct 1;88(7):750-3.

Long-term infection rates associated with the pectoral versus abdominal approach to cardioverter- defibrillator implants.

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Cardiac Arrhythmia Service, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts 02114, USA.


Infection is an uncommon (0% to 6.7%) but serious complication after implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) implantation. All ICD primary implants, replacements, or revisions performed at the Massachusetts General Hospital between April 1983 and May 1999 were reviewed. A total of 21 ICD-related infections (1.2%) were identified among 1,700 procedures affecting 1.8% of the 1,170 patients who underwent a primary implant, a generator change, or a revision of their systems. The mean follow-up time was 35 +/- 33 months. Of the 959 patients with long-term follow-up, 19 of the 584 patients (3.2%) with abdominal and 2 of the 375 patients (0.5%) with pectoral systems developed ICD-related infections (p = 0.03). There was no significant difference between the infection rate among the 959 primary ICD implants and the 447 replacements or system revisions. Only 5 of the patients (24%) had systemic signs of infection, including fever (T>100.5) and elevated white blood count >12,000. Cultures from the wound revealed staphylococcal species in 16 patients (76%). Nineteen patients were treated with removal of the entire ICD system in addition to intravenous antibiotics for 2 to 4 weeks. A decrease in the incidence of ICD-related infection has occurred since the advent of transvenous pectoral systems. The main organism responsible for ICD infection is Staphylococcus. The mainstay of ICD infection management consists of complete removal of the entire implanted system.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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