Bacterial endocarditis presenting as acute myocardial infarction: a cautionary note for the era of reperfusion

Am J Med. 1991 Mar;90(3):392-7.


Coronary embolism is a known complication of bacterial endocarditis that sometimes causes acute myocardial infarction. The necessity for rapidly restoring coronary artery perfusion and the time constraints governing clinical decisions may prevent endocarditis from being diagnosed before pharmacologic or mechanical thrombolysis. This report describes the first documented cases of coronary angioplasty in two patients with acute myocardial infarction caused by bacterial endocarditis, and reviews the literature on coronary artery complications of bacterial endocarditis. The first patient developed a coronary artery mycotic aneurysm at the dilatation site; the second experienced a small intracerebral hemorrhage following reperfusion. It is, of course, unwise to generalize from two cases, but we believe that in patients who are most likely to have endocarditis as the cause of acute myocardial infarction, the impulse to follow conventional strategies for coronary reperfusion should be tempered by thoughts of possible consequences.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Coronary Thrombosis / etiology
  • Coronary Thrombosis / therapy
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Endocarditis, Bacterial / complications*
  • Endocarditis, Bacterial / diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Myocardial Infarction / etiology*
  • Myocardial Reperfusion / adverse effects
  • Streptococcal Infections / complications
  • Streptococcal Infections / diagnosis*