March 1981

Bacterial Endocarditis in the Critically Ill Surgical Patient

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Surgery, University of Kentucky Medical Center, Lexington.

Arch Surg. 1981;116(3):311-314. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1981.01380150039010

• The association of endocarditis with persistent intraperitoneal sepsis and right-sided heart catheterization (Swan-Ganz catheter and central venous catheter) was found in four (27%) of 15 patients with endocarditis identified at the University of Kentucky Medical Center, Lexington, during a 14-year period. These four patients had (1) intra-abdominal abscesses as a persistent source of sepsis, (2) documented septicemia, (3) long-term use of right-sided heart catheters, and (4) prolonged hospitalization with a fatal outcome. In each case, endocarditis with persistent septicemia was considered a major factor contributing to a fatal outcome. Identification of a new cardiac murmur associated with septicemia was the most reliable means of diagnosis in these patients. The best form of treatment seems to be prevention by (1) eliminating septic foci, (2) using central catheters for specific indications for as short a period as possible, and (3) promptly discontinuing use of the catheter when septicemia is suspected.

(Arch Surg 1981;116:311-314)