Group A streptococcus endocarditis in children: 2 cases and a review of the literature

BMC Infect Dis. 2019 Jan 31;19(1):102. doi: 10.1186/s12879-019-3736-6.


Background: Infective endocarditis (IE) is defined as endocarditis caused by microorganisms (bacteria or fungi) involving either the heart or great vessels. The clinical course of IE can be complicated by cardiac dysfunction and bacterial embolization to virtually any organ. Staphylococcus aureus and viridans group streptococci are the most common causative organisms, whereas group A Streptococcus (GAS) is less common. Although some GAS serotypes have been associated with severe disease, there are few reports of IE associated with GAS serotypes. Here, we report two cases of GAS endocarditis and review the associated literature.

Case presentations: Patient 1 was a previously healthy 14-year-old girl who developed bacteremia and disseminated intravascular coagulation secondary to left foot cellulitis. She was administered intravenous antibiotics. Two of three blood cultures grew Streptococcus pyogenes (T6 M6, emm6.104). Three days later, a new systolic ejection murmur was heard and echocardiography showed mitral regurgitation with mitral valve vegetation. Because of the resultant severity of the mitral regurgitation, she underwent mitral valve repair after 10 weeks of antibiotic treatment. Patient 2 was a 17-month old boy who presented with a fever. He had a history of spontaneous closure of a ventricular septal defect (VSD). He was started on intravenous antibiotics for possible bacteremia. Two consecutive blood cultures with an interval of more than 12 h grew S. pyogenes (T4 M4, emm4.0). Five days later, echocardiography showed vegetation on a membranous ventricular septal aneurysm. The patient responded well to antibiotics, and recovered fully with no complications.

Conclusions: Although both patients developed GAS endocarditis, patient 1 did not have any predisposing conditions for IE, and patient 2 had a only a low-risk predisposing condition, a VSD that had closed spontaneously at five months of age. We found twelve reports in the literature of GAS endocarditis with information on serotypes. All patients in these reports had GAS endocarditis caused by serotypes generally associated with milder infections, but no specific risk trends were identified. A greater accumulation of cases is necessary to more clearly elucidate the association between GAS IE and specific serotypes.

Keywords: Group A Streptococcus; Infective endocarditis; Serotype; emm type.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Echocardiography
  • Endocarditis, Bacterial / diagnosis*
  • Endocarditis, Bacterial / diagnostic imaging
  • Endocarditis, Bacterial / drug therapy
  • Endocarditis, Bacterial / microbiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Mitral Valve Insufficiency / diagnosis*
  • Mitral Valve Insufficiency / diagnostic imaging
  • Mitral Valve Insufficiency / drug therapy
  • Mitral Valve Insufficiency / microbiology
  • Streptococcal Infections / diagnosis*
  • Streptococcal Infections / diagnostic imaging
  • Streptococcal Infections / drug therapy
  • Streptococcal Infections / microbiology
  • Streptococcus pyogenes / isolation & purification*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents