Septic embolism encompasses a wide range of presentations and clinical considerations. From asymptomatic, incidental finding on advanced imaging to devastating cardiovascular or cerebral events, this important clinico-pathologic entity continues to affect critically ill patients. Septic emboli are challenging because they represent two insults-the early embolic/ischemic insult due to vascular occlusion and the infectious insult from a deep-seated nidus of infection frequently not amenable to adequate source control. Mycotic aneurysms and intravascular or end-organ abscesses can occur. The diagnosis of septic embolism should be considered in any patient with certain risk factors including bacterial endocarditis or infected intravascular devices. Treatment consists of long-term antibiotics and source control when possible. This manuscript provides a much-needed synopsis of the different forms and clinical presentations of septic embolism, basic diagnostic considerations, general clinical approaches, and an overview of potential complications.
Keywords: Complications; diagnosis and management; septic embolism; system-based approach.