Appropriate use of echocardiography in managing Staphylococcus aureus bacteremia

Expert Rev Anti Infect Ther. 2012 Apr;10(4):501-8. doi: 10.1586/eri.12.22.


Staphylococcus aureus bacteremia (SAB) is increasing, both in the community and in healthcare settings. Accurate and timely diagnosis of underlying infective endocarditis (IE) is critical for optimal management of SAB cases as it has significant management and prognostic implications. Reported prevalence of IE in patients with SAB varies depending on the study population, and ranges from 10 to 30%. As clinical presentation of IE can be nonspecific, echocardiography is usually recommended in SAB cases to 'rule out' IE. Due to its poor sensitivity (<50%), especially for diagnosing prosthetic valve IE, transthoracic echocardiography is considered inadequate in this setting and clinicians have to rely on transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) to confirm or exclude endocarditis in SAB cases. Although some experts recommend TEE in all patients presenting with SAB, it is believed that the use of TEE could be guided by individual patient risk factors, mode of acquisition of SAB and clinical presentation. In this article, published data regarding the use of TEE in the SAB population are reviewed and a simplified algorithm to guide use of TEE in SAB cases is proposed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Bacteremia / diagnosis
  • Bacteremia / diagnostic imaging*
  • Bacteremia / epidemiology
  • Echocardiography, Transesophageal / statistics & numerical data*
  • Endocarditis, Bacterial / diagnosis
  • Endocarditis, Bacterial / diagnostic imaging
  • Endocarditis, Bacterial / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Staphylococcal Infections / diagnosis
  • Staphylococcal Infections / diagnostic imaging*
  • Staphylococcal Infections / epidemiology
  • Staphylococcus aureus* / classification