Supportive Care in Cancer

, Volume 26, Issue 9, pp 3083–3089 | Cite as

Echocardiography has low utility in cancer patients with Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia: findings from a retrospective study

  • Zoe Loh
  • Ortis Estacio
  • Andrew Grigg
  • Natasha E Holmes
  • Geoff Chong
  • Eliza A. Hawkes
Original Article



To describe the incidence of infective endocarditis (IE) detected on echocardiography in cancer patients with confirmed Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia (SAB).


We retrospectively identified 95 cases of SAB in cancer patients from January 2007–March 2016. Echocardiography was ordered at the discretion of the treating team, and positive findings defined according to the Modified Duke Criteria. Complicated bacteraemia was defined by prolonged bacteraemia, presence of intracardiac device/prosthetic valve, or signs of metastatic infection.


Major predisposing risk factors for IE (intracardiac device, prosthetic valve, valvular disease, diabetes mellitus, renal dialysis) were present in 27% of cases. Fifty-one of 95 (54%) had a central venous catheter and 17 (18%) patients had complicated bacteraemia. Echocardiography was performed in 75/95 (79%) episodes, with transthoracic echocardiography (TTE) alone in 56, transoesophageal echocardiography (TOE) alone in 4 and both in 15. Echocardiography was diagnostic for IE in 2 patients (1 TTE, 1 TOE), including one result that led to the diagnosis of IE in a clinically unsuspected case. Four further cases of IE were diagnosed on clinical findings, resulting in an overall rate of IE of 6% (6/95). Five of these cases occurred in patients with complicated bacteraemia or ≥ 1 risk factor for IE. No patient was readmitted due to IE.


IE is infrequent in cancer patients with uncomplicated SAB and no risk factors for IE. Performing echocardiography routinely in all cancer patients with SAB rarely alters diagnosis or affects antibiotic management and therefore should be reserved for patients with specific risk factors.


Echocardiography Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia Cancer Infective endocarditis 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Medical Oncology & Clinical Haematology, Olivia Newton John Cancer Research and Wellness CentreAustin HealthHeidelbergAustralia
  2. 2.The University of MelbourneVictoriaAustralia
  3. 3.Department of Infectious DiseasesAustin HealthHeidelbergAustralia
  4. 4.Eastern HealthBox HillAustralia

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