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Clin Infect Dis. 1993 Jul;17(1):46-55.

Sustained bacteremia in 26 patients with a permanent endocardial pacemaker: assessment of wire removal.

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Service de Réanimation Médicale et Maladies Infectieuses, Hôpital Pontchaillou, Rennes, France.


We reviewed the data on 26 patients with permanent endocardial pacemakers who had 28 episodes of bacteremia to determine whether removal of the wire is required. Patients recovered completely from the first episode in seven of 20 cases of staphylococcal bacteremia and in six of six cases of nonstaphylococcal bacteremia (P = .015). Definitive cure was not achieved during the first episode in seven cases of staphylococcal bacteremia related to the pacing system when the wire was not withdrawn; however, cure was achieved in five of six cases when the whole pacemaker was removed (P < .01). The duration of treatment was longer for the patients from whom the wire was not removed during the first episode (P < .01). Whether cases of staphylococcal bacteremia were related to the pacing system or not, the rate of recovery of the responsible microorganism from the wires was similar for both groups of patients (six [82%] of seven and three [75%] of four, respectively). Nonstaphylococcal bacteremia was unrelated to the pacing system in five of six cases; these patients were all cured without removal of the wire.

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