Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Case report
Rare case of pacemaker infection with Mycobacterium abscessus
  1. Alison Radigan and
  2. Susan Jevert-Eichorn
  1. Family and Community Medicine, Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine, Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Alison Radigan, radiganmd{at}


Though prevalent in the environment, nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) have been increasingly identified as pathogenic. Sporadic reports of NTM infection of cardiac implantable electronic devices (CIEDs) have appeared but remain rare. This case describes a CIED infection with Mycobacterium abscessus, the third reported case in the literature. A 63-year-old male presented with a 3-day history of drainage from his pacemaker extraction site. An aspirate grew Mycobacterium abscessus. Together with National Jewish Health, a treatment plan was developed, consisting of an induction phase with amikacin, cefoxitin and clarithromycin followed by a maintenance phase with clarithromycin and clofazimine. The clinical course was complicated by cardiac arrhythmia, abscess formation and thoracic osteomyelitis with epidural abscess. This case highlights a rare manifestation of Mycobacterium abscessus disease and suggests the need for further study. Treatment is complicated by unpredictable resistance patterns, complex antimicrobial regimens and the use of arrhythmogenic medications in patients with removed CIEDs.

  • pacing and electrophysiology
  • drugs: infectious diseases
  • medical management

Statistics from


  • Contributors AR wrote the first draft of the manuscript with input from SJ-E. Both the authors have contributed significant intellectual content to this article to warrant authorship and were directly involved in the care of this patient and jointly planned the message of this case report. Both the authors contributed to the editing and revisions of the manuscript and approve the final version of this article.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Patient consent for publication Obtained.

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.