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Clinical Observation
August 9/23, 1999

Wegener Granulomatosis Simulating Bacterial Endocarditis

Author Affiliations

From the Divisions of Rheumatology (Drs Anthony, Askari, and Wolpaw) and Infectious Disease (Dr McComsey), Department of Medicine, University Hospitals of Cleveland, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland, Ohio.

Arch Intern Med. 1999;159(15):1807-1810. doi:10.1001/archinte.159.15.1807

Cardiac involvement in Wegener granulomatosis is uncommon. We report a case of Wegener granulomatosis that presented as culture-negative endocarditis with aortic valvular vegetation. The clinical manifestations included gingival hyperplasia, gangrenous digital infarcts, mononeuritis multiplex, high fever, inflammatory arthritis, pansinusitis, splenic infarct, and aortic valvular vegetation, which underscore the difficulty of distinguishing systemic vasculitis from bacterial endocarditis. Contrary to the common notion that valvular vegetation is invariably associated with bacterial endocarditis, this case proves that such findings can occur in Wegener granulomatosis as well. Clinicians are guided toward early treatment with corticosteroids and cyclophosphamide to prevent fatal complications.