Objective: The timing of surgery for active infective endocarditis remains controversial. In this report, we have reviewed 26 patients who underwent surgery for active infective native-valve endocarditis between April 1992 and December 1998.
Patients and method: There were 19 male and 7 female patients (mean age 45 years). The aortic valve was involved in 8 patients, the mitral valve in 6 patients, tricuspid valve in 2 patients, both aortic and mitral valves in 7 patients, both aortic and tricuspid valve in 2 patients, and both mitral and tricuspid valve in one patient. The most common microorganisms were streptococcal species. Preoperative high New York Heart Association functional class (III and IV) was presented in 20 patients (77%). Progressive heart failure and the echocardiographic findings of vegetation (larger than 1 cm) were the main operative indications. Emergency or urgent surgery was required in 18 patients (70%). All patients underwent valve replacement, involving 25 mechanical prosthesis and 8 bioprosthesis.
Results: The operative mortality was 7.8% (n = 2). In the two patients who died, the infection had extended to the deep cardiac tissue and to the cerebral artery. The mean follow-up of the 24 survivors was 33 months (range from 6 to 82 months). There was no late death and no recurrence of infective endocarditis.
Conclusion: In case of active infective endocarditis, early surgical intervention is recommended in patients with rapidly progressive cardiac deterioration or vegetation seen on echocardiography.