Cardiovascular Implantable Electronic Device Infections due toPropionibacteriumSpecies

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Propionibacterium species are part of the normal skin flora and often considered contaminants when identified in cultures. However, they can cause life-threatening infections, including prosthetic cardiovascular device infections. Clinical presentation and management of cardiovascular implantable electronic device (CIED) infection due to Propionibacterium species has not been well described.


Retrospective review of all cases of CIED infection due to Propionibacterium species admitted to Mayo Clinic between January 1, 1990 and December 31, 2014. Patient charts were reviewed for clinical, microbiological, and imaging data. Descriptive analysis was performed.


We identified 14 patients with CIED infection due to Propionibacterium species, accounting for 2.3% of all CIED infections. Patients were predominantly male (n = 12, 86%). The median age at admission was 58.5 years (range 22–83). Twelve patients had implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) and two had permanent pacemaker systems. Twelve patients had generator pocket infection (86%). Two patients met clinical criteria for CIED-related infective endocarditis. Median time between last device manipulation and infection was 9 months (range 1–98). All patients were treated with complete device removal and antibiotic therapy. Six-month follow-up data were available for 10 patients (71%), with no relapses documented.


CIED infections due to Propionibacterium species accounted for 2.3% of all device infections over a 25-year period. The most common infectious syndrome was generator pocket infection with delayed onset. There was an unanticipated predominance of ICDs in this cohort. Cure was achieved in all cases with complete device removal and antibiotic therapy.

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