Skip to main content
Local News

Wrapped Heart Devices Cut Infection in Implanted Patients

By March 21, 2019No Comments

Among the 1.7 million patients implanted globally every year with heart defibrillators and pacemakers, postoperative infections are a major concern. Although studies have reported low infection rates with these devices – between 1 percent and 4 percent of patients – the consequences are profound in terms of death and injury.

“Patients require a complete extraction of their device system when it becomes infected – a procedure that carries a small, but serious risk of tearing the heart,” said Jeanne Poole, a UW Medicine cardiologist and professor of medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine.

In a study published March 17 in the New England Journal of Medicine, Poole and colleagues reported that wrapping the defibrillators and pacemakers in an antibacterial, bio-absorbable mesh envelope during the implantation significantly reduced the rate of infections experienced by patients in the following year.

The three-year clinical trial spanned 181 clinical sites and involved 6,903 patients, who were randomized to receive the palm-size envelope, or no envelope, with their device implants. The trial’s average patient age was 70 – in line with the general population of people who receive these devices.