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September 9, 1996

Microbiology of Acute Purulent Pericarditis: A 12-Year Experience in a Military Hospital

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Pediatrics (Dr Brook) and Infectious Diseases (Ms Frazier), Navy Hospital, Bethesda, Md.

Arch Intern Med. 1996;156(16):1857-1860. doi:10.1001/archinte.1996.00440150113013

Objective:  To study the aerobic and anaerobic microbiological and clinical characteristics in 15 cases of acute pericarditis treated over a 12-year period.

Design:  Retrospective review of microbiological and clinical data.

Setting:  Military hospital in Bethesda, Md.

Results:  Aerobic or facultative bacteria alone were present in 7 specimens (47%), anaerobic bacteria alone in 6 specimens (40%), and mixed aerobic-anaerobic flora in 2 specimens (13%). In total, there were 21 isolates: 10 aerobic or facultative bacteria and 11 anaerobic bacteria, an average of 1.4 per specimen. Anaerobic bacteria predominated in patients with pericarditis who also had mediastinitis that followed esophageal perforation and in patients whose pericarditis was associated with oro-facial and dental infections. The predominant aerobic bacteria were Staphylococcus aureus (3 isolates) and Klebsiella pneumoniae (2 isolates), and the predominant anaerobic bacteria were Prevotella species (4 isolates), Peptostreptococcus species (3 isolates), and Propionibacterium acnes (2 isolates).

Conclusion:  The findings in our study highlight the potential importance of anaerobic bacteria in acute pericarditis.Arch Intern Med. 1996;156:1857-1860

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