8 in 10 patients don't have infected heart devices removed 

Only 18 percent of patients with infected heart devices underwent surgeries to have them removed, despite removal being recommended by all medical society guidelines, according to a new study from Durham, N.C.-based Duke University. 

Researchers shared their findings at the 2022 American College of Cardiology conference on April 3. They used Medicare data for nearly 1.1 million patients who received cardiac implantable electronic devices between 2006 and 2019. 

Of those patients, 11,619 developed infections a year or more after implantation. Eighty-two percent of these patients were treated solely with antibiotics, despite previous evidence that they are largely ineffective in treating infections on cardiac devices. 

"Any extraction was associated with lower mortality when compared to no extraction, but the highest benefit was to those who had devices removed within six days of an infection," said Sean Pokorney, MD, lead study author and electrophysiologist and cardiologist at Duke University School of Medicine. "This speaks to the importance of putting systems in place to identify these patients and get them quickly and appropriately treated, because delays in care result in higher mortality."

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