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March 1969

Serratia marcescens Endocarditis: A Review of the Literature and Report of a Case Involving a Homograft Replacement of the Aortic Valve

Author Affiliations

From the departments of surgery and pathology and the First Surgical Service of the University Hospital, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle.

Arch Surg. 1969;98(3):287-291. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1969.01340090063007

Since first described by Woodward and Clark in 1913,1 sporadic case reports of human infection by Serratia marcescens have been recorded. In the early literature, reports were limited mainly to persons suffering from chronic debilitating or complicated disease processes. These were usually pulmonary infections, sometimes demonstrating the symptom of "pseudohemoptysis," or urinary tract infections occurring after instrumentation of the lower urinary tract.2-5 Recent reports, however, have revealed that this organism will appear as a "super infection" after intensive antibiotic therapy.6,7 Such case reports point up the dangers of a secondary infection by these gram-negative motile rods, which closely resemble enterococci both in culture characteristics and in their resistance to most of the currently used antibiotics.8,9

Although S marcescens has been described as the cause of bronchitis,1-3,10 pneumonia,11 empyema,12 meningitis,13 urinary tract infections4-6,9,14 and peritonitis during peritoneal dialysis,15 to our knowledge