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J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 1992 Aug;104(2):487-90.

Cardiac operations during active endocarditis.

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Riyadh Cardiac Centre, Armed Forces Hospital, Saudi Arabia.


Between December 1982 and March 1990, 65 patients with active infective endocarditis underwent cardiac operations. Their mean age was 28.6 years (range 1 to 65 years). The most common infecting organisms were staphylococcus (33.8%), streptococcus (18.5%), and brucella (16.9%); 11 patients (16.9%) had cultures negative for infection. A rheumatic, native valve, most commonly the aortic, was involved in 40 patients, a prosthetic valve (with the mitral most common) in 18 patients, and in seven patients the infection involved a congenitally abnormal valve. Aortic root abscess developed in 21.5% of patients. In 30 patients operation was performed within 3 days of the start of intravenous antibiotic therapy, usually within 3 days of admission (group A); this resulted in fewer preoperative complications and a significantly lower postoperative complication rate than in those 35 patients who underwent operations more than 3 days after starting antibiotic therapy (group B). Preoperative embolic phenomena occurred in eight (12.3%) of the 31 patients who had large, mobile vegetations (2/16 [12.5%] in group A and 6/15 [40%] in group B). Overall there was no reinfection. No postoperative paravalvular leaks developed in group A. Nine patients died in the hospital (13.8%) (four in group A and five in group B); in all patients the infecting organism was staphylococcal or fungal. There was one late death. Early operation should always be considered in active infective endocarditis, especially when a prosthetic valve is involved or the infecting organism is staphylococcal or fungal. The disclosure of moderate to large vegetations by two-dimensional echocardiography is an indication for operation.

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