Diagnosis and management of infections involving implantable electrophysiologic cardiac devices

Ann Intern Med. 2000 Oct 17;133(8):604-8. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-133-8-200010170-00011.


Background: Optimal treatment of infections related to implantable electrophysiologic cardiac devices is poorly defined.

Objective: To describe the clinical presentation, treatment, and outcome of patients with such infections.

Design: Retrospective case series.

Setting: The Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland, Ohio.

Patients: 123 patients with infections involving implantable cardiac electrophysiologic devices.

Measurements: Demographic characteristics, clinical manifestations, time to diagnosis, management, and outcome.

Results: 87 patients with permanent pacemakers and 36 patients with implantable cardioverter defibrillators had infections. The most common signs and symptoms were pocket erythema and local pain. The most common pathogens were coagulase-negative staphylococci (68%) and Staphylococcus aureus (23%). In 117 patients (95%), all equipment was extracted and antibiotic therapy lasted a median of 28 days. Operative mortality was zero. Follow-up showed crude mortality and relapse rates of 8% and 3%, respectively.

Conclusion: For infections related to implantable electrophysiologic devices, complete device removal and antimicrobial therapy allow timely, successful reimplantation at a remote anatomic site without substantial risk for operative mortality or recurrent infection.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Bacteremia / drug therapy
  • Bacteremia / etiology
  • Bacterial Infections / drug therapy
  • Bacterial Infections / etiology*
  • Defibrillators, Implantable / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pacemaker, Artificial / adverse effects*
  • Reoperation
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Staphylococcal Infections / drug therapy
  • Staphylococcal Infections / etiology
  • Staphylococcus aureus
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents