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Pain Pract. 2007 Sep;7(3):279-84.

Introduction of infection control measures to reduce infection associated with implantable pain therapy devices.

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  • 1Department of Anesthesiology, Division of Pain Medicine, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota 55905, USA.



Implantable pain therapy devices for chronic pain include spinal cord stimulators (SCS) and intrathecal drug delivery systems (IDDS). A number of different complications can occur after implantation of these devices, but among the most serious is infection. Based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for prevention of surgical site infection, published literature on infection risk with implantable pain therapy devices, and recommendations from groups within our own our institution, we introduced infection control measures for all patients receiving either SCS or IDDS.


After approval from the Institutional Review Board, we performed a retrospective review of patients undergoing primary implantation of SCS or IDDS before and after introduction at our institution of safety measures designed to reduce device-related infection. We compared infection incidence and compliance to infection precautions before and after introduction of these measures.


Thirty-four SCS or IDDS were implanted before implementation of the infection control measures and 58 were placed after. Five device-related infections occurred. Adherence to most infection precautions improved during the study period, but 100% compliance was seen only with venue used for implantation. Infection incidence declined after introduction of the safety measures, but the reduction was not statistically significant.


Introduction of infection control measures for implantable pain therapy devices improved adherence to most infection precautions in our practice. Lack of specific documentation could have hindered practice surveillance within our group. A tool to document performance of infection control measures would be useful not only as a marker of compliance but could also serve as a reminder to perform certain safety measures.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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