Screening for coronary artery disease in early surgical treatment of acute aortic valve infective endocarditis

Interact Cardiovasc Thorac Surg. 2021 Apr 19;32(4):522-529. doi: 10.1093/icvts/ivaa313.


Objectives: In patients with unknown coronary status undergoing surgery for acute infective endocarditis (IE), the need to screen for coronary artery disease (CAD) and the risk of embolization during invasive coronary angiography (ICA) are debated. Coronary computed tomography angiography (CCTA) is a non-invasive alternative in these patients. We aimed to evaluate the safety and feasibility of ICA and CCTA to diagnose CAD, and the necessity to treat CAD to prevent CAD-related postoperative complications.

Methods: In this single-centre retrospective cohort study, all patients with acute aortic IE between 2009 and 2019 undergoing surgery were selected. Outcomes were any clinically evident embolization after preoperative ICA, in-hospital mortality, perioperative myocardial infarction or unplanned revascularization and postoperative renal function.

Results: Of the 159 included patients, CAD status was already known in 14. No preoperative diagnostics for CAD was done in 46/145, a CCTA was performed in 54/145 patients and an ICA in 52/145 patients. Significant CAD was found after CCTA in 22% and after ICA in 21% of patients. In 1 of the 52 (2%) patients undergoing preoperative ICA, a cerebral embolism occurred. The rate of perioperative myocardial infarction or unplanned revascularization in patients not screened for CAD was 2% (1 out of 46 patients).

Conclusions: Although the risk of embolism after preoperative ICA is low, it should be carefully weighed against the estimated risk of CAD-related perioperative complications. CCTA can serve as a gatekeeper for ICA in most patients with acute aortic IE.

Keywords: Computed tomography angiography; Coronary artery disease; Endocarditis; Invasive coronary angiography.

MeSH terms

  • Aortic Valve / diagnostic imaging
  • Aortic Valve / surgery
  • Computed Tomography Angiography
  • Coronary Angiography
  • Coronary Artery Disease* / complications
  • Coronary Artery Disease* / diagnostic imaging
  • Coronary Artery Disease* / surgery
  • Endocarditis*
  • Humans
  • Infections
  • Retrospective Studies