Low rates of endocarditis in healthcare-associated Staphylococcus aureus bacteremia suggest that echocardiography might not always be required

T. Barton, S. Moir, H Rehmani, I. Woolley, T. M. Korman, R. L. Stuart

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Healthcare-associated Staphylococcus aureus bacteremia (HA-SAB) is an increasingly frequently observed complication of medical treatment. Current guidelines recommend evaluation with echocardiography and preferably transesophageal echocardiography for the exclusion of infectious endocarditis (IE). We performed a retrospective analysis of all patients with HA-SAB between 1 January 2007 and 31 July 2012. Patients were divided into those with a high degree of clinical suspicion of IE (prosthetic intracardiac device, hemodialysis or positive blood cultures for 4 days or more) or those with a low degree of clinical suspicion of IE (absence of high-risk features based on previous literature as strong indicators of endocarditis). Three hundred and fifty-eight patients with HA-SAB were evaluated to determine the prevalence of IE, including 298 (83 ) who had echocardiography. Fourteen patients (4 ) had a final diagnosis of IE after echocardiography. In the group with a high degree of clinical suspicion 11 out of 84 patients (13 ) had IE. In the group with a low degree of clinical suspicion group 3 out 274 patients (1.1 ) had IE. HA-SAB has a low rate of IE, especially in the absence of high-risk features such as prolonged bacteremia, intracardiac prosthetic devices, and hemodialysis. Echocardiographic imaging in this low-risk population of patients is rarely helpful and may generally be avoided, although careful clinical follow-up is warranted. Patients with HA-SAB who have mechanical valves, intracardiac devices, prolonged bacteremia or dialysis dependency have a high incidence of IE and should be evaluated thoroughly using echocardiography.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-55
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2016

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