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Risk of infection from defibrillators

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Patients with defibrillators are more likely to suffer infections than those with pacemakers, a study has shown.

Patients with defibrillators are more likely to suffer infections than those with pacemakers, a study has shown.

The US study of 1,087 patients with cardiac devices showed the rate of pocket infection without blood stream infections (BSI) was higher among patients with implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs) than those with permanent pacemakers.

Researchers studied the medical records of the patients and ascertained whether blood stream infection had occurred, then looked to see if cardiac devices had become infected.

Five of 14 patients (36%) with defibrillators and blood stream infections had device infection. In comparison, two of 62 (3%) patients with permanent pacemakers and blood stream infections had device infection.

Archives of Internal Medicine (2007) 167: 669-675

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