This review describes the microbiology, diagnosis and management of endocarditis due to anaerobic bacteria. Anaerobic bacteria are an uncommon but important cause of endocarditis. Most cases of anaerobic endocarditis are caused by anaerobic cocci, Propionibacterium acnes and Bacteroides fragilis group. Predisposing factors and signs and symptoms of endocarditis caused by anaerobic bacteria are similar to those seen in endocarditis with facultative anaerobic bacteria with the following exceptions: the gastrointestinal tract was the most common source for B. fragilis group endocarditis, the head and neck were the most common origin for Fusobacterium and Bacteroides spp., and the head and neck and genitourinary tract were the most common source for peptostreptococci. Complications with anaerobic endocarditis include valvular destruction, multiple mycotic aneurysms, aortic-ring abscess, aortitis, cardiogenic shock, dysrhythmias and septic shock. The mortality rate for patients with anaerobes endocarditis is 21-43%. Treatment of endocarditis involving anaerobic bacteria includes the use of antibiotic therapy effective against these organisms.
Copyright 2002 S. Karger AG, Basel