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J Heart Valve Dis. 1997 Sep;6(5):443-65.

Risk, diagnosis and management of prosthetic valve endocarditis: a review.

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Albert Starr Academic Center for Cardiac Surgery, Providence Health System, Portland, Oregon, USA.


Prosthetic valve endocarditis (PVE) emerged approximately 37 years ago when the first human heart valve replacements were performed. PVE can be classified as 'early' or 'late' with the pathophysiology and etiologic organisms varying between the two subgroups. The incidence of PVE ranges up to 0.5% per patient-year for mechanical mitral valves and up to 1.0% per patient-year for other valves. The clinical presentation is similar to that of native valve endocarditis, with fever being the most prevalent sign. Diagnosis is based on a constellation of clinical signs and symptoms as well as echocardiographic evaluation of the valve and perivalvular tissues. An algorithm is set forth for diagnosis and management of patients with suspected PVE based on our personal experience and the published literature. Indications for surgery, the surgical approach and methods of PVE prophylaxis and prevention are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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