REVIEW
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Prosthetic valve endocarditis.

Prosthetic valve endocarditis (PVE) is associated with a high mortality during the early and midterm follow-up despite diagnostic and therapeutic improvements; its incidence is increasing and reaches 20-30% of all infective endocarditis episodes. In this review, changes in epidemiology, microbiology, diagnosis and therapy that have evolved in the past few years are analyzed. Staphylococci (both Staphylococcus aureus and coagulase-negative Staphylococcus) have emerged as the most common cause of PVE and are associated with a severe prognosis. Moreover, diagnosis may often be difficult because of its complications and extracardiac manifestations; thus, a comprehensive assessment of the clinical, echocardiographic and laboratory data must be performed. Early PVE, comorbidity, severe heart failure and new prosthetic dehiscence are predictors of mortality. Therapy is not indicated by evidence-based recommendations but mostly on identification of the high-risk conditions. A PVE is a common indication for surgery, whereas medical treatment alone may be achieved in a few instances. Systematic prophylaxis should be used to prevent this severe complication of cardiac valve replacement.

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