Infections Associated with Resterilized Pacemakers and Defibrillators

Background

Access to pacemakers and defibrillators is problematic in places with limited resources. Resterilization and reuse of implantable cardiac devices obtained post mortem from patients in wealthier nations have been undertaken, but uncertainty around the risk of infection is a concern.

Methods

A multinational program was initiated in 1983 to provide tested and resterilized pacemakers and defibrillators to underserved nations; a prospective registry was established in 2003. Patients who received reused devices in this program were matched in a 1:3 ratio with control patients who received new devices implanted in Canada.

Conclusions

Among patients in underserved countries who received a resterilized and reused pacemaker or defibrillator, the incidence of infection or device-related death at 2 years was 2.0%, an incidence that did not differ significantly from that seen among matched control patients with new devices in Canada.

Author(s)Source
Khairy TF, Lupien A-A, Nava S et al.N Engl J Med 2020; 382:1823-1831 DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1813876
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