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Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center - Houston, Texas

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VA Physician Invents Antibacterial Envelope for Surgical Implants

June 20, 2008

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Rabih O. Darouiche, M.D., staff physician in the Medical Care and Spinal Cord Injury Care Lines at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center (MEDVAMC), is one of the inventors of an innovative antibacterial envelope for surgical implants. PHOTO: Bobbi Gruner, Public Affairs Officer

 

HOUSTON –  Rabih O. Darouiche, M.D., staff physician in the Medical Care and Spinal Cord Injury Care Lines at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center (MEDVAMC), is one of the inventors of an innovative antibacterial envelope for surgical implants.

Recently, a patient in the Texas Medical Center became the first in the nation to receive a pacemaker enclosed using this new technology. His old pacemaker was replaced by one encased in an envelope made of standard surgical mesh. The envelope was embedded with two antibiotic agents that provide site-specific antibiotic protection for the pacemaker. This prevents the need for oral antibiotics.

"This technology is designed to stabilize pacemakers and implantable cardioverter-defibrillators with the additional benefit of reducing the potential risk of infection associated with the implanted cardiac device," said Darouiche.

The envelope, approved by the Food and Drug Administration in January 2008, contains the antimicrobial agents, rifampin and minocycline, which have been shown to reduce infection by organisms responsible for the majority of infections that result in cardiac rhythm medical device-related endocarditis, including the “superbugs” such as Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

Darouiche, a VA Distinguished Service Professor, is the founder and director of the Center for Prostheses Infection (CPI) at Baylor College of Medicine, and also the creator of the national Multidisciplinary Alliance Against Device-Related Infection (MADRI). He graduated from medical school at the American University of Beirut, Lebanon in 1984, and completed his internship, residency, and fellowship at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. He is board certified in internal medicine, infectious disease, and spinal cord injury medicine.

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