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Ann Thorac Surg. 2012 Aug;94(2):489-95; discussion 496. doi: 10.1016/j.athoracsur.2012.04.027. Epub 2012 Jun 16.

Impact of early surgical treatment on postoperative neurologic outcome for active infective endocarditis complicated by cerebral infarction.

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Department of Cardiovascular Surgery, Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine, Osaka, Japan.



The optimal timing of surgical intervention for infective endocarditis (IE) with cerebrovascular complications remains controversial because the risk of perioperative intracranial hemorrhage is still unclear. The aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence of acute cerebral infarction (CI) in patients with IE and its hemorrhagic risk after valve operations.


We retrospectively evaluated 102 consecutive patients (35 with neurologic symptoms; 67 without neurologic symptoms) who underwent diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (DW-MRI) before valve operations for left-sided active IE between 2005 and 2010. The prevalence of acute CI and its postoperative neurologic outcome were evaluated.


Acute CI was detected preoperatively in 64 of 102 (62.7%) patients. Of the 64 patients with acute CI, 34 underwent surgical treatment within 14 days after diagnosis of CI (early group), whereas the other 30 patients underwent operation after more than 14 days (delayed group). Postoperative CI deterioration was confirmed in 1 patient in each group. Furthermore, in 43 of the patients with acute CI who were followed with postoperative neuroimaging, hemorrhagic transformation was confirmed in only 1 patient in the delayed group. However new ectopic intracranial hemorrhage was confirmed in 2 patients in the early group and 3 patients in the delayed group.


The risk of postoperative hemorrhagic transformation of preoperative acute CI was low, even in patients who underwent early operation. Our data suggested that there is no benefit for delaying surgical treatment beyond 2 weeks to prevent hemorrhagic transformation in patients with CI. However ectopic intracranial hemorrhage sometimes occurs regardless of the timing of surgical treatment.

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