Surgery for active culture-positive endocarditis: determinants of early and late outcome

Ann Thorac Surg. 2000 May;69(5):1448-54. doi: 10.1016/s0003-4975(00)01139-5.


Background: The purpose of this study was to describe a single unit experience in the surgical treatment of active culture-positive endocarditis and identify determinants of early and late outcome.

Patients and methods: One hundred eighteen consecutive patients with positive blood culture up to 3 weeks before operation (or positive valve culture) and macroscopic evidence of lesions typical for endocarditis, undergoing operation between January 1973 and December 1996 in Southampton, were evaluated. The aortic valve was infected in 53 (48.9%), the mitral in 46 (39%), both aortic and mitral in 12 (10.1%), the tricuspid in 4 (3.9%), and the pulmonary valve in 3 (2.5%). Native valve endocarditis was present in 83 (70.3%) and prosthetic valve endocarditis in 35 (29.7%). Streptococci and staphylococci were the most common pathogens. Mean follow-up was 5.6 years (range, 0 to 25 years).

Results: Operative mortality was 7.6% (9 patients). Endocarditis recurred in 8 (6.7%). A reoperation was required in 12 (10.2%). There was 24 late deaths, 17 of them cardiac. Actuarial freedom from recurrent endocarditis, reoperation, late cardiac death, and long-term survival at 10 years were 85.9%, 87.2%, 85.2%, and 73.1%, respectively. On multiple regression analysis the following were independent adverse predictors: pulmonary edema (p = 0.007) and impaired left ventricular function (p = 0.02) for operative mortality; prosthetic valve endocarditis (p = 0.01) for recurrent infection; myocardial invasion by the infection (p = 0.01) and reoperation (p = 0.04) for late cardiac death; and coagulase-negative staphylococcus (p = 0.02), annular abscess (p = 0.02), and longer intensive care unit stay (p = 0.02) for long-term survival.

Conclusions: Operation for active culture-positive endocarditis carries an acceptable mortality. Freedom from recurrent infection, reoperation, and long-term survival are satisfactory. In our data, patients' hemodynamic status at operation was the major determinant of operative mortality. Prosthetic valve endocarditis, coagulase-negative staphylococcus, and annular or myocardial infectious invasion were the critical adverse determinants of late outcome.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aortic Valve / microbiology
  • Endocarditis, Bacterial / microbiology
  • Endocarditis, Bacterial / mortality
  • Endocarditis, Bacterial / surgery*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Heart Valves / pathology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mitral Valve / microbiology
  • Prosthesis-Related Infections
  • Recurrence
  • Reoperation
  • Risk Factors
  • Staphylococcus / isolation & purification
  • Streptococcus / isolation & purification
  • Survival Rate
  • Treatment Outcome