September 6, 2011
A notable study on device-related infection conducted by Dr. Jasmine Patel, Mr. Edmund Lau, Dr. Jorge Ochoa, and Dr. Steve Kurtz (in collaboration with Drs. Arnold Greenspon, Daniel Frisch, Reginald Ho, and Behzad Pavri) has received widespread press, including the New York Times. Their study "Sixteen-year trends in the infection burden for pacemakers and implantable cardioverter-defibrillators in the United States 1993-2008" has been published in the August 30th issue of the Journal of American College of Cardiology.
The results showed that implantation of pacemakers and defibrillators doubled from 1993–2008, while infections associated with these devices tripled. The reasons for the increase are not clear, but the recipients’ age and health, as well as prolonged hospital stays may be factors. In addition, defibrillators require frequent replacement, and each procedure provides additional opportunities for infection.