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Heart Rhythm. 2010 Aug;7(8):1043-7. doi: 10.1016/j.hrthm.2010.05.016. Epub 2010 May 12.

Cardiac implantable electronic device infections: presentation, management, and patient outcomes.

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Heart and Vascular Institute, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio 44195, USA.



Indications for cardiac implantable electronic devices (CIEDs) are increasing. Although CIED infections occur infrequently, the impact of this outcome is expected to be substantial.


The purpose of this study was to the evaluate the outcome of patients undergoing removal of infected CIEDs.


A retrospective study was conducted of all patients with proven or suspected infected CIEDs who were referred to the Cleveland Clinic for system removal from January 2002 through March 2007.


A total of 412 patients (age 68 +/- 15 years) were included in the study. The majority of patients (241 [59%]) presented with localized infection involving the device pocket. The remaining 171 patients (41%) presented with endovascular infection but no evidence of inflammation of the device pocket. Of the total 414 pathogens isolated, 366 (88%) were aerobic gram-positive organisms, of which 90% were Staphylococcus species, and almost half of these were methicillin resistant. In-hospital mortality was 4.6% (19 patients). Only 2 deaths were extraction related. One-year mortality was 17%. Among the total cohort, 8 (1.9%) patients had relapsing infection within the first year. Among patients who had device replacement during the same hospitalization, 6 (2.6%) had relapsing infections within 1 year of reimplantation; 5 of these patients had systemic symptoms and were bacteremic upon initial presentation.


CIED infections are most often caused by Staphylococcus species, half of which are methicillin resistant. Percutaneous lead and device removal along with antibiotic therapy are effective as primary interventions. The overall relapse rate is 1.9%, and the relapse rate among patients who had reimplantation during the same hospitalization is 2.6%.

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