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Cardiology. 2002;97(2):55-8.

Pericarditis due to anaerobic bacteria.

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Department of Pediatrics, Georgetown University School of Medicine, Washington, DC, USA.


This review describes the microbiology, diagnosis and management of pericarditis due to anaerobic bacteria. The predominant anaerobes recovered from patients with pericarditis were: gram-negative bacilli (mostly of the Bacteroides fragilis group), anaerobic streptococci, Clostridium spp., Fusobacterium spp., and Bifidobacterium spp. Anaerobic bacteria can be isolated in pericarditis resulting from the following mechanisms: (1) spread from a contiguous focus of infection, either de novo or after surgery or trauma (pleuropulmonary, esophageal fistula or perforation, and odontogenic); (2) spread from a focus of infection within the heart, most commonly from endocarditis; (3) hematogenous infection, and (4) direct inoculation as a result of a penetrating injury or cardiothoracic surgery. No differences were found in the clinical diagnostic features between cases of pericarditis due to anaerobic bacteria and those due to aerobic and facultative bacteria. Anaerobic gram-negative bacilli have increased their resistance to penicillins and other antimicrobials in the last decade. Complete identification and testing for antimicrobial susceptibility and lactamase production are therefore essential for the management of infections caused by these bacteria. Treatment of pericarditis involving anaerobic bacteria includes the use of antibiotic therapy effective against these organisms.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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