Background: Early surgery has been shown to be beneficial for patients with infective endocarditis (IE), yet surgery is not used in most patients. Evidence of the uncertainty around the use of surgery can be found in the wide variations in the use of cardiac surgery in IE with few precise indications for cardiac surgery yet defined. The aim of the study was to characterize patients with native valve IE relative to surgery and to determine if patients who benefit from an early surgical intervention can be identified.
Methods: The International Collaboration on Endocarditis Merged Database was used to quantify the differences between patients with IE receiving medical and surgical intervention in 1516 patients with definite native valve IE. Propensity models were built to identify a group of patients that benefit from early surgery.
Results: Patients in the early surgical group were more likely to be male, younger, and with less comorbidities compared with the early medical group (P < .001 for all) and were less likely to have infection with Staphylococcus aureus or viridans group streptococci (P < .05 for all). Intracardiac abscess and heart failure were much more common in the surgical group (P < .001 for all). In an unadjusted comparison, there was no statistically significant survival advantage in the surgical group. However, in the propensity analysis, in the subgroup of patients with the most indications for surgery, there was a significant decrease in mortality associated with early surgery (11.2% vs 38.0%, P < .001).
Conclusions: The benefits of surgery are not seen uniformly in all patients with native valve IE, but are most realized in a targeted population. This observation requires confirmation in other populations of patients with definite IE.