Surgeons' Perspectives on Valve Surgery in People With Drug Use-Associated Infective Endocarditis

Ann Thorac Surg. 2023 Sep;116(3):492-498. doi: 10.1016/j.athoracsur.2021.12.068. Epub 2022 Jan 31.


Background: Hospitalizations for drug-use associated infective endocarditis (DUA-IE) have led to increasing surgical consultation for valve replacement. Cardiothoracic surgeons' perspectives about the process of decision making around operation for people with DUA-IE are largely unknown.

Methods: This multisite semiqualitative study sought to gather the perspectives of cardiothoracic surgeons on initial and repeat valve surgery for people with DUA-IE through purposeful sampling of surgeons at 7 hospitals: University of Alabama, Tufts Medical Center, Boston Medical Center, Massachusetts General Hospital, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and Rhode Island Hospital-Brown University.

Results: Nineteen cardiothoracic surgeons (53% acceptance) were interviewed. Perceptions of the drivers of addiction varied as well as approaches to repeat valve operations. There were mixed views on multidisciplinary meetings, although many surgeons expressed an interest in more efficient meetings and more intensive postoperative and posthospitalization multidisciplinary care.

Conclusions: Cardiothoracic surgeons are emotionally and professionally impacted by making decisions about whether to perform valve operation for people with DUA-IE. The use of efficient, agenda-based multidisciplinary care teams is an actionable solution to improve cross-disciplinary partnerships and outcomes for people with DUA-IE.

MeSH terms

  • Endocarditis* / complications
  • Endocarditis* / surgery
  • Endocarditis, Bacterial* / complications
  • Endocarditis, Bacterial* / surgery
  • Heart Valve Prosthesis Implantation*
  • Humans
  • Substance-Related Disorders* / complications
  • Surgeons*