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September 30, 1939


JAMA. 1939;113(14):1328-1329. doi:10.1001/jama.1939.02800390050015

Subacute bacterial endocarditis has for many years been considered practically incurable. A recent review1 of eighty-eight cases observed at the Wisconsin General Hospital indicated the occurrence of only one healed case. The septic type of subacute bacterial endocarditis, almost invariably fatal, has become so familiar that the group of patients with a mild degree of infection in which there is a chance of recovery has been overlooked. Perhaps the time has come to change the conventional view of this disease.

Capps2 has recently reported a study of 139 cases, all followed over a long period of years or to the fatal outcome. Thus one patient, whose condition was first diagnosed in 1910, is today in good health. Eleven patients survived five years or more after the onset of the infection. Included among the recoveries are only those patients who have remained symptom free for more than five years.