November 1958

Diagnostic Aspects of Subacute Bacterial Endocarditis in the Elderly

Author Affiliations

San Mateo, Calif.

Department of Medicine, San Mateo County Community Hospital.

AMA Arch Intern Med. 1958;102(5):761-765. doi:10.1001/archinte.1958.00260220077007

As recently as 1940 it was authoritatively stated that the vast majority of cases of subacute bacterial endocarditis occur in patients younger than 50 years of age.1 In a recent survey of the literature this was proven erroneous. From 10% to 50% of cases in the several series reviewed by Wallach et al. occurred in persons over 50.2 Studies of postmortem material have given similar figures. In 94 cases of subacute bacterial endocarditis autopsied by Traut et al., 38% were in patients over 45 years of age. Cases have been reported in patients of all ages up to the 10th decade.4

Subacute bacterial endocarditis usually occurs in persons with diseased hearts, and since more such people for various reasons are living to old age, a greater frequency of subacute bacterial endocarditis in the elderly can be expected in the future. It is worth while to stress the

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