Timing the valve replacement in infective endocarditis involving the brain
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Neurological complications are very frequent in patients with infective endocarditis (20–40 %). In these patients it is unclear at what time a valve replacement should be performed. In order to develop a data based recommendation we studied 12 patients of our own and analyzed 228 patients from the literature. We included patients with valve replacement after a neurological complication of endocarditis and documented the time between manifestation and operation and the outcome. Based on these 240 patients we calculated the risk of neurological deterioration after the valve replacement. After brain infarction this risk is 20% within three days, 20–50% between day 4 and 14, but declines to < 10% after 14 days and < 1% after 4 weeks. Valve replacement within the first four weeks after intracranial hemorrhage has been reported to be successful only in individual cases. The risk of deteriorating declines later to 15%. Based on these limited data we suggest that valve replacement in patients with brain infarction should be considered within the first 72 hours if they have severe heart failure, otherwise after four weeks. Only a few selected patients with intracranial hemorrhage and progressive heart failure might benefit from valve replacement within the first four weeks. For all other neurological complications there are no reliable data. We propose a structured approach depending on cardiac and neurological complications and the time course of the disease.
Key wordsendocarditis valve replacement neurological complication
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