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Brain abscesses in infective endocarditis: contemporary profile and neuroradiological findings.

Infection 2023 Februrary 29
BACKGROUND: Brain abscesses (BA) are severe lesions in the course of infective endocarditis (IE). We compare the bacteriological, clinical data, background, associated lesions, and outcome of IE patients with and without BAs, and assess the MRI characteristics of BAs.

METHODS: Retrospective study of 351 consecutive patients with definite IE (2005-2020) and at least one brain MRI. Patients with and without BAs were compared.

RESULTS: Twenty patients (5.7%) had BA (80% men; median age: 44.9 ± 11.5). They were younger (p = 0.035) and had a higher rate of predisposing factors (previous IE 20% vs 2.2%, p = 0.03), intravenous drug use [25% vs 2.2%; p < 0.0001]), underlying conditions (HIV infection, 20% vs 2.2%, p < 0.0001; alcohol abuse, 20% vs 2.2% p < 0.0001]; liver disease p = 0.04; hemodialysis, p = 0.001; type 2 diabetes, p = 0.001), bacterial meningitis (p = 0.0029), rare species involvement (35% vs 7%, p < 0.0006) and extra-cerebral abscesses (p = 0.0001) compared to patients without BA. Valve vegetations were larger in Group 1 (p = 0.046). Clinical presentation could suggest the diagnosis of BA in only 7/20 (35%) patients. MR identified 58 BAs (mean/patient 2.9; range 2-12): often multiple (80%), bilateral (55%) and ≤ 10 mm (72%). The presence of BA did not modify cardiac surgery indication and timing. Favorable outcome was observed in 85% of patients.

CONCLUSION: Rates of predisposing, underlying conditions, rare IE agents, meningitis and metastatic abscesses are significantly higher in BA-IE patients. As BAs can develop in asymptomatic IE patients, the impact of brain MRI on their management needs thoroughly to be further investigated.

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