Critical appraisal of cardiac implantable electronic devices: Complications and management

Luigi Padeletti, Giosuè Mascioli, Alessandro Paoletti Perini, Gino Grifoni, Laura Perrotta, Procolo Marchese, Luca Bontempi, Antonio Curnis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Population aging and broader indications for the implant of cardiac implantable electronic devices (CIEDs) are the main reasons for the continuous increase in the use of pacemakers (PMs), implantable cardioverter-defbrillators (ICDs) and devices for cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT-P, CRT-D). The growing burden of comorbidities in CIED patients, the greater complexity of the devices, and the increased duration of procedures have led to an augmented risk of infections, which is out of proportion to the increase in implantation rate. CIED infections are an ominous condition, which often implies the necessity of hospitalization and carries an augmented risk of in-hospital death. Their clinical presentation may be either at pocket or at endocardial level, but they can also manifest themselves with lone bacteremia. The management of these infections requires the complete removal of the device and subsequent, specific, antibiotic therapy. CIED failures are monitored by competent public authorities, that require physicians to alert them to any failures, and that suggest the opportune strategies for their management. Although the replacement of all potentially affected devices is often suggested, common practice indicates the replacement of only a minority of devices, as close follow-up of the patients involved may be a safer strategy. Implantation of a PM or an ICD may cause problems in the patients' psychosocial adaptation and quality of life, and may contribute to the development of affective disorders. Clinicians are usually unaware of the psychosocial impact of implanted PMs and ICDs. The main difference between PM and ICD patients is the latter's dramatic experience of receiving a shock. Technological improvements and new clinical evidences may help reduce the total burden of shocks. A specifc supporting team, providing psychosocial help, may contribute to improving patient quality of life.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)157-167
Number of pages11
JournalMedical Devices: Evidence and Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Sep 9 2011


  • Cardiac cardioverter-defbrillator
  • Cardiac implantable electronic devices
  • Infection
  • Pacemaker
  • Quality of life
  • Recall

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)


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