Impact of cardiac surgery on left-sided infective endocarditis with intermediate-length vegetations

Heart. 2023 May 5;heartjnl-2023-322391. doi: 10.1136/heartjnl-2023-322391. Online ahead of print.


Objective: The best strategy to manage patients with left-sided infective endocarditis (IE) and intermediate-length vegetations (10-15 mm) remains uncertain. We aimed to evaluate the role of surgery in patients with intermediate-length vegetations and no other European Society of Cardiology guidelines-approved surgical indication.

Methods: We retrospectively enrolled 638 consecutive patients admitted to three academic centres (Amiens, Marseille and Florence University Hospitals) between 2012 and 2022 for left-sided definite IE (native or prosthetic) with intermediate-length vegetations (10-15 mm). We compared four clinical groups: medically (n=50) or surgically (n=345) treated complicated IE, medically (n=194) or surgically (n=49) treated uncomplicated IE.

Results: Mean age was 67±14 years. Women were 182 (28.6%). The rate of embolic events on admission was 40% in medically treated and 61% in surgically treated complicated IE, 31% in medically treated and 26% in surgically treated uncomplicated IE. The analysis of all-cause mortality showed the lowest 5-year survival rate for medically treated complicated IE (53.7%). We found a similar 5-year survival rate for surgically treated complicated IE (71.4%) and medically treated uncomplicated IE (68.4%). The highest 5-year survival rate was observed in surgically treated uncomplicated IE group (82.4%, log-rank p<0.001). The analysis of the propensity score-matched cohort estimated an HR of 0.23 for uncomplicated IE treated surgically compared with medical therapy (p=0.005, 95% CI: 0.079 to 0.656).

Conclusions: Our results suggest that surgery is associated with lower all-cause mortality than medical therapy in patients with uncomplicated left-sided IE with intermediate-length vegetations even in the absence of other guideline-based indications.

Keywords: Endocarditis; General Surgery.