MONDAY, Sept. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Implantable electronic
devices such as pacemakers and certain defibrillators can help
treat heart conditions and save lives, but these benefits may have
to be weighed against potentially life-threatening and costly
complications, a new study suggests.
Researchers from the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in
Rochester, Minn., found that people who develop an infection
related to a cardiovascular implantable electronic device (CIED)
are at greater risk for death. Infection related to one of these
devices also results in higher health-care costs, including the
price for hospital admissions, intensive care and pharmacy
In conducting the study, the researchers analyzed information on
more than 200,000 patients who received a new cardiovascular
implantable electronic device or had an old one replaced or fixed
between January and December 2007.
The study, published online Sept. 12 in the journal
Archives of Internal Medicine, found that 5,817 of the patients were hospitalized with an infection. The researchers said the infections were associated with an increased risk of death. Depending on the type of device patients received, adjusted admission mortality rose from 4.6 percent to 11.3 percent, and long-term mortality increased from 26.5 percent to 35.1 percent.
The costs associated with these complications were also higher.
"Intensive care and pharmacy services accounted for more than half
of the incremental cost [for patients] with infection and could be
targeted to reduce costs associated with management of CIED
infection," Dr. Muhammad Sohail and colleagues explained in a
journal news release.
The researchers noted that pacemakers, in particular, were
associated with significantly greater increased costs than other
types of cardiovascular implantable electronic devices.
The researchers said more research is needed to determine why
CIEDs are associated with increased risk of death.
The American Heart Association provides more information on
cardiovascular implantable electronic device