Prosthetic valve endocarditis: superiority of surgical valve replacement versus medical therapy only

Ann Thorac Surg. 1994 Oct;58(4):1073-7. doi: 10.1016/0003-4975(94)90458-8.


The objective of our study was to assess the long-term outcome of patients with prosthetic valve endocarditis. We used a multicenter, prospective, observational study design. Six university teaching hospitals with high volume cardiothoracic surgery participated. Seventy-four patients with prosthetic valve endocarditis as defined by explicit, objective criteria were selected for participation. All patients were followed up prospectively for 1 year. Thirty-one percent and 69% had development of endocarditis within 60 days of valve insertion ("early") and after 60 days ("late"), respectively. The most common causes were Staphylococcus epidermidis (40%), Staphylococcus aureus (20%), streptococcal species (18%), and aerobic gram-negative bacilli (11%). Physical signs of endocarditis (new or changing murmur, stigmata, emboli) were seen in 58%. At 6 months and 12 months, mortality was 46% and 47%, respectively. Surgical replacement of the infected valve led to significantly lower mortality (23%) as compared with medical therapy alone (56%), as assessed by both univariate and multivariate analyses (p < 0.05). Improved outcome was seen for the surgical group even when controlling for severity of illness at time of diagnosis. From these findings we conclude that accurate assessment of outcome in prosthetic valve endocarditis requires long-term follow-up of at least 6 months following diagnosis. Surgical therapy warrants greater scrutiny; evaluation in controlled clinical trials is appropriate.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Endocarditis, Bacterial / mortality
  • Endocarditis, Bacterial / surgery
  • Endocarditis, Bacterial / therapy*
  • Heart Valve Prosthesis* / adverse effects
  • Heart Valve Prosthesis* / mortality
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Prosthesis-Related Infections / mortality
  • Prosthesis-Related Infections / surgery
  • Prosthesis-Related Infections / therapy*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Staphylococcal Infections / mortality
  • Staphylococcal Infections / surgery
  • Staphylococcal Infections / therapy
  • Staphylococcus aureus
  • Staphylococcus epidermidis
  • Survival Analysis
  • Treatment Outcome