Infected Lead Removal - Recommend or No

My friend in Latin America went for a second opinion. The new doctor has hospitalized him for the infection, currently administering IV anti-biotics and is discussing his next step, PM replacement.

He has let me know the doctor has told him that the leads should not be removed, even though 6 other doctors have given their opinion that the leads should be removed, due to the infection.

The new doctor indicated that the leads are not removed in most countries around the world, and millions have this infection problem,they replace the PM and live full lives. He has consulted several other cardiologists on the issue, and he said the # 1 cardio in Colombia advised it was unnecessary to remove leads.

He asked me to inquire as to how many on this message board have had infected PM’s and leads, and were advised to have the leads removed along with the PMs? Also how many were advised it was NOT necessary to remove the leads?

Thank you to all who have responded so far to my friend’s situation – it is very uplifting to him to know that there are others out there who support him.



Re Lead removal

by ajay - 2008-05-04 04:05:35

Hi Everyone,
I had an infected pm site and both the pm and the leads were removed - I was told that it was not advisable to leave the leads in as there could still be a problem with the infection if they weren't. The infection can travel down the leads right into the heart. It is imperative that they get rid of the bug - that's why you are put on super dooper bug killers for several weeks (usually via a pic line that is fed through the arm and up into the chest) -pm taken out and the site not used ever again. I am pm dependant as I have had av node ablation but, most people have what is called an escape rhythm which kicks in (other areas of the heart take over the job albeit at a diminished rate)-mine was about max 35-40 bpm. So I mooched around the hospital for around 3-4 weeks with no pm until they were sure the bug had been zapped,then the pm implanted on the other side. It is pretty dismal when you are going through the whole thing but there is an end and your friend will feel so great once it is all sorted out, I know I sure did.
Cheera Ajay

relatively rare

by CathrynB - 2008-05-04 11:05:18

While this problem happens with some regularity, my impression is it's rather rare in any group of several hundred or several thousand people (the number actively checking in on this site on any given day), so the likelihood of your finding many folks here in the next day or two who have been through this seems small. You might learn more by using the "search" feature in the top right hand corner of the gray band to read previous postings from folks with this problem. Also because business here is conducted in English, most of the participants come from the U.S., Canada, Australia, Great Britain or countries where lots of folks speak English as a second language like India, parts of Indonesia, etc. It seems we don't have many participants from Latin America, and I'm not surprised if things are generally handled differently in other parts of the world.
I feel badly for your friend that he's getting such conflicting recommendations (though 6 docs telling him he should have the leads removed seems like pretty overwhelming favor in that direction!) I hope he's able to resolve this soon as continuning on with the infection still in his body can only threaten his health further. Please let us know how yhe is doing after his surgery and we hope he returns to full health quickly.
All the best wishes, Cathryn

Infected pacer and leads

by Soryfam - 2008-05-07 10:05:18

Hi. I had a MRSA (superbug) infection in my leads/pacer and heart. It also broke off from the leads and caused a blood clot in my lung.My doctors opted to send me to a specialist in Denver who uses a laser to remove the leads and infection. It is a complicated and difficult procedure, but a must if your unit is infected.
I transferred back to my own hospital (about 60 miles away), where I stayed for another ten days on antibiotics and blood thinners. I got another clot, this one in my left arm near where the old pacer was. I went home with IV antibiotics and about 4 weeks later I had my new pacer and leads put in.
Getting rid of the infection is very important. Even with all of the meds they gave me, I still coontracted the MRSA again. THe first was just a week after getting the new pacer, and I had to have a pin in my foot that had gotten infected removed.

Two weeks later, while I was still on antibiotics, the MRSA moved to my spine and destroyed two vertebrae. I had to have surgery to remove the infected areas, and also had to have a metal cage put in to fuse T5 - T10. I was unconscious in ICU for a month, and I am now paraplegic.
Sorry this is so long, but I hope it encourages your friend to find a specialist and get the work done.

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