Management of bacteremia in patients living with cardiovascular implantable electronic devices

Daniel C. DeSimone, M. Rizwan Sohail

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Cardiovascular implantable electronic devices (CIEDs) have become a critical component in management of patients with cardiac rhythm disturbances, heart failure, and prevention of sudden cardiac death. However, infection remains a major complication of CIED implantation and is associated with significant morbidity and mortality for device recipients. Early-onset CIED infections frequently originate from the generator pocket, secondary to device or pocket contamination at the time of implantation, and may progress to involve device leads or cardiac valves. However, hematogenous seeding of the device leads from a remote source of bacteremia is not infrequent in patients with late-onset CIED infections. Whereas CIED pocket infection can be diagnosed in the majority of cases based on physical findings at the pulse generator site, device lead infection may only manifest with fever and positive blood cultures. However, not every patient with a CIED and positive blood cultures has underlying CIED lead infection. Consequently, management of bacteremia in a CIED recipient without local signs of infection presents a significant challenge. The risk of underlying CIED lead infection in patients presenting with bacteremia depends on several factors, including the type of microorganism isolated in blood cultures, duration and source of bacteremia, type of CIED, and number of device-related procedures. These risk factors must be considered when making decisions regarding the need for further diagnostic imaging and whether to retain or remove the device. In this article, we review the published data regarding risk of CIED infection in patients presenting with bacteremia and propose an algorithm for appropriate evaluation and management.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2247-2252
Number of pages6
JournalHeart Rhythm
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016


  • Bacteremia
  • Cardiac device
  • Cardiovascular implantable electronic device
  • Infection
  • Positron emission tomography
  • Staphylococcus aureus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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