Purpose: To determine the incidence of prosthetic valve endocarditis (PVE) in fungemic patients with prosthetic heart valves (PHV), estimate risk of subsequent PVE, and describe risk factors and diagnostic and therapeutic management issues in such patients.
Patients and methods: This is a retrospective chart review in a 1,100-bed tertiary referral center with an active cardiothoracic surgical service. Forty-four patients with PHVs developed nosocomial fungemia between January 1985 and April 1995.
Results: Of 44 patients, 33 never developed evidence of PVE (group 1), 7 (16%) had evidence of PVE at the time of candidemia (group 2), and 4 (9%) developed PVE a mean of 232 days after candidemia (group 3). Predisposing factors including intravascular lines, prior antibiotic therapy, and an identifiable portal of entry for fungemia were common in group 1 but not group 2. Candidemia occurred significantly later after PHV surgery in group 2 (mean 270 days) as compared to groups 1 and 3 (means 48 and 15.5 days, respectively; P = 0.02). Ten of 11 patients with Candida PVE (group 2 and 3) were treated with amphotericin B and valve replacement. Three relapses after combined therapy were documented in two patients. Mortality was significantly higher for patients without Candida PVE (group 1) as compared to patients with Candida PVE (groups 2 and 3) at 1 month (53% vs 9%), 2 months (69% vs 20%) and 1 year (83% vs 25%) after candidemia.
Conclusions: Patients with prosthetic heart valves who develop nosocomial candidemia are at notable risk of either having or developing Candida PVE months or years later. Late onset candidemia and lack of an identifiable portal of entry should heighten concern about Candida PVE in such patients.