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Evaluation of the Duke criteria in 93 episodes of prosthetic valve endocarditis: could sensitivity be improved?

BACKGROUND: Since publication of the Duke criteria for diagnosing endocarditis, several articles have confirmed their sensitivity when native and prosthetic valves are considered together.

OBJECTIVES: To compare the differences between the older von Reyn criteria and the Duke criteria in prosthetic valve endocarditis only, and to determine if the latter's sensitivity could be improved by adding 2 minor criteria: new-onset heart failure and presence of conduction disturbances.

METHODS: We retrospectively evaluated 93 episodes of prosthetic valve endocarditis from January 1986 to January 1998 in a teaching hospital, and then analyzed the 76 surgically confirmed episodes to compare the differences between the von Reyn and Duke diagnostic criteria.

RESULTS: The von Reyn criteria rejected the diagnosis in 16 of the confirmed episodes, compared with 1 diagnosis missed by the Duke criteria and 1 missed using our suggested modifications. Definite diagnosis (Duke) was established in 60 episodes, compared with a diagnosis of probable (von Reyn) in 36 episodes (P<.001). Our modifications improved the sensitivity of the Duke criteria, diagnosing 70 episodes as definite (P = .02).

CONCLUSIONS: As was the case with native valve endocarditis, the Duke criteria proved to be more sensitive than the von Reyn criteria in prosthetic valve endocarditis. The addition of 2 minor criteria (new-onset heart failure and presence of conduction disturbances) could improve the diagnostic sensitivity of the Duke criteria.

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