Aims: To describe the incidence and management of cardiac device infection. Infection is a serious, potentially fatal complication of device implantation. The numbers of device implants and infections are rising. Optimal care of device infection is not well defined.
Methods and results: We retrospectively identified cases of device infection at our institution between 2000 and 2007 by multiple source record review, and active surveillance. Device infection was related to demographics, clinical, and procedural characteristics. Descriptive analysis was performed. From 2000 to 2007, a total of 2029 permanent pacemakers and 1076 biventricular/implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs) or ICDs were implanted. Thirty-nine cases of confirmed device infections were identified--27 pacemaker and 12 bivent/ICD or ICD infections, giving an infection rate of 1.25%. Median time from implant or revision to presentation was 150 days (range 2915 days, IQR25% 35-IQR75% 731). Ninety percent of patients presented with generator-site infections. The most common organism was methicillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus (30.8%), followed by coagulase negative Staphylococcus (20.5%). Complete device extraction occurred in 82%. Of these, none had relapse, and mortality was 7.4% (n = 2/27). With partial removal or conservative therapy (n = 13), relapse occurred in 67% (n = 8/12), with mortality of 8.4% (n = 1/12). Median duration of antibiotics was 42 days (range 47 days, IQR25% 28-IQR75% 42 days). Re-implantation of a new device occurred in 54%, at a median of 28 days (range 73 days, IQR25% 8.5-IQR75% 35 days). Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus infection predicted mortality (P < 0.004, RR 37, 95% CI 5.3-250). Median follow-up was 36 months.
Conclusion: Cardiac device infection is a rare complication, with significant morbidity and mortality. Complete hardware removal with appropriate duration of antimicrobial therapy results in the best outcomes for patients.