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Infective endocarditis: prevention, diagnosis, and management.

Infective endocarditis (IE) is among the most severe infectious disease, the prevention of which has not decreased its incidence. The age of patients and the rate of health care-associated IE have increased as a consequence of medical progress. The prevention strategies have been subjected to an important debate and nonspecific hygiene measures are now placed above the use of antibiotic prophylaxis. Indeed, the level of evidence of antibiotic prophylaxis efficiency is low and the indications of its prescription have been restricted in the recent international guidelines. In cases carrying a high suspicion of IE, efforts should be made to rapidly identify patients with a definite or highly probable diagnosis of IE and to find the causative pathogen to ensure that appropriate treatment, including urgent valvular surgery, begins promptly. Although echocardiography remains the main accurate imaging modality to identify endocardial lesions associated with IE, it can be negative or inconclusive especially in cases of prosthetic valve or other intracardiac devices. Recent studies demonstrated the diagnostic value of other imaging strategies including cardiac computed tomography (CT), positron emission tomography/CT, radiolabelled leukocyte single-photon emission CT/CT, and cerebral magnetic resonance imaging. Novel perspectives on the management of endocarditis are emerging and offer a hope for decreasing the rate of residual deaths by accelerating the processes of diagnosis, risk stratification, and instauration of antimicrobial therapy. Moreover, the rapid transfer of high-risk patients to specialized mediosurgical centres (IE team), the development of new surgical modalities, and close long-term follow-up are of crucial importance.

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