Prevention of infections in cardiovascular implantable electronic devices beyond the antibiotic agent

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The increase in incidence/prevalence of infections of implantable pacemakers and defibrillators (implantable cardioverter defibrillator, ICD) is outweighing that of the implanting procedures, mainly favored by the changes in patient profile. Despite the high impact on patient's outcome and related costs for healthcare systems, we lack specific evidence on the preventive measures with the exception of antibiotic prophylaxis. The aim of this study is to focus on common approaches to pacemaker/ICD implantation to identify the practical preventive strategies and choices that can (potentially) impact on the occurrence of this feared complication. After a brief introduction on clinical presentation, pathogenesis, and risk factors, we will present the results from a survey on the preventive strategies adopted by different operators from the 25 centers of the Emilia Romagna region in the northern Italy (4.4 million inhabitants). These data will provide the basis for reviewing available literature on this topic and identifying the gray areas. The last part of the article will cover the available evidence about pacemaker/ICD implantation, focusing on prophylaxis of pacemaker/ICD infection as a ‘continuum’ starting before the surgical procedure (from indications to patient preparation), which follows during (operator, room, and techniques) and after the procedure (patient and device follow-up). We will conclude by evaluating the relationship between adherence to the available evidence and the volume of procedures of the implanting centers or operators’ experience according to the results of our survey.

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