Endocarditis with the indwelling balloon-tipped pulmonary artery catheter in burn patients

J Trauma. 1978 Sep;18(9):664-6. doi: 10.1097/00005373-197809000-00008.


The postmortem finding of acute right-sided bacterial endocarditis in a burn patient monitored with an indwelling pulmonary artery (Swan-Ganz) catheter for 14 days prompted a review of burn autopsies in which the catheter had been used. Autopsies of six consecutive burn patients monitored with a pulmonary artery catheter and who then died showed septic or aseptic endocarditis. In two of the six patients, right-sided staphylococcal endocarditis was the anatomic cause of death. In the remaining four, the lesions were aseptic thrombotic vegetations involving primarily the right atrium, tricuspid valve, right ventricle, and pulmonic valve. Several factors in the severely burned patient would favor endocarditis where a foreign object impacts on the heart valves. These include intermittent bacteremia, hypercoagulability, hyperdynamic cardiovascular function, and the use of antibiotics resulting in resistant strains. While an indwelling pulmonary artery catheter can provide useful monitoring information, it is sometimes responsible for serious complications in burned or septic patients.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Burns / complications*
  • Cardiac Catheterization / adverse effects*
  • Catheters, Indwelling / adverse effects
  • Endocarditis, Bacterial / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Pulmonary Artery