JAPANESE HEART JOURNAL, vol.43, no.5, pp.475-485, 2002 (SCI-Expanded)
Vegetative electrode infection following permanent pacemaker implantation is a rare and serious complication. Among 1920 patients who underwent permanent pacemaker implantation in our institute between 1980 and 2000, 7 patients aged 65 to 78 years were diagnosed to have pacemaker related endocarditis. In this study, the clinical course and management strategies for these patients are reviewed. The most frequently encountered factors contributing to development of pacemaker infection were local complications such as postoperative hematoma and inflammation, and recurrent surgical interventions on the pacemaker system. In blood cultures S. aureus was the most common causative microorganism. Echocardiography could be performed in 5 patients. Three patients were referred to open-heart surgery for total removal of the pacemaker system, and one patient had his pacemaker system removed percutaneously. The remaining 3 patients did not agree to either surgical or percutaneous removal. These patients have been under antibiotic therapy for approximately 3 years and they still do not have any signs of a serious infection. Consequently, in patients with permanent pacemakers, infective endocarditis should be considered. in the presence of fever and local symptoms. Blood cultures should be obtained and echocardiography should be performed. Complete removal of the pacemaker system with intensive antibiotic treatment is necessary for complete eradication of the infection. However, if percutaneous or surgical removal of the electrodes cannot be done because of high perioperative risk or the patient does not agree to undergo either method, medical treatment with long term antibiotic use may be considered as an alternative.