Features November 2011 Issue

ICD Infections: Why They’re Rising and What You Can Do

Risks from cardiac device implantation are low, but subsequent procedures to extract leads or make other changes raise the odds of an infection.

The implantation of a device to keep your heart beating brings relief and a sense of security. But pacemakers and implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) also bring the risk of infection. A study in the August 30 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology finds the rate of those infections is increasing. Researchers looked at a national database of hospital discharge records between 1993 and 2008. They found that infections related to ICDs and pacemakers rose significantly during that time. From 1993 to 2004, the rate of infection was about 1.61 percent. But by 2008, the rate was 2.41 percent.

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