Although rare, coronary artery stent infections are associated with a high mortality rate. Since the introduction of coronary stents in 1987, only 16 cases of infection have been reported. We report a new case in a 66-year-old woman who had undergone a difficult percutaneous coronary intervention procedure, during which 3 overlapping stents were implanted in the mid portion of the right coronary artery. Twenty-two days after the procedure, the patient died. Autopsy revealed the cause of death to be pericardial tamponade due to rupture of the right ventricular myocardium. The stented portion of the right coronary artery was enveloped by an abscess, and purulent material completely occluded the stents. Cultures of the myocardium were positive for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.
We conducted a review of the literature on coronary artery stent infections. Data suggest that early-onset infections (<10 days after stent implantation) are potentially amenable to medical therapy alone, but late-onset infections (≥10 days after implantation) or major complications necessitate combined surgical and medical therapy. Medical therapy consists of broad-spectrum antibiotics. Surgical intervention includes stent removal if possible, and abscess drainage or perforation repair when indicated.