A total of 37 cases of infective endocarditis, in children aged two days to 13 years, were seen from 1971 to 1983 at the Children's Hospital, Camperdown. Structural heart disease was known to preexist in 95%. Cyanotic congenital heart disease was present in 15 children, of whom 11 had been palliated by a systemic-to-pulmonary artery shunt. In five children, there was infection of a prosthetic valve. Identifiable precipitants of infection were rare. In particular, no child had had a preceding dental procedure within three months, while only 19% had had recent cardiac surgery.
Organisms were identified by blood culture in 92%, the majority being streptococci (43% of cases) and staphylococci (27% of cases). While 59% of all organisms were penicillin sensitive, six of the seven early postoperative children were infected with organisms not sensitive to antibiotics, given for wound infection prophylaxis in the perioperative period.
The overall death rate was 13.5%. Of the children infected withStaphylococcus aureus, 40% died, while no child withStreptococcus viridans endocarditis died. Of the survivors, four needed urgent valve replacement, and three had major central nervous system complications.
Using these figures, a current profile of patients with infective endocarditis is presented.
Key wordsChildhood Infective endocarditis Congenital heart disease Valvar heart disease
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