JOURNAL ARTICLE
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[Embolic complications in bacterial endocarditis].

Embolic complications are a major prognostic determinant in the clinical course of infective endocarditis (IE) with an incidence of about 30-50%. In order to analyze risk factors leading to embolism in native (NVE) and prosthetic valve endocarditis (PVE), we reviewed 177 consecutive patients; 43% were female, 57% male, PVE occurred in 24% of all patients all left-sided, among the NVE were 11% right-sided IE. Major embolic complications occurred in 40% of all patients. In NVE, a higher rate of embolic events (45% vs. 26%; p < 0.05), and a larger vegetation size compared to PVE was observed (14 +/- 6 mm vs. 11 +/- 5 mm; p < 0.05). The most important risk factor for embolic complications in NVE was Staphylococcus aureus (odds ratio 6.4). Furthermore, double valve endocarditis, fever, and mitral valve endocarditis were associated with the risk for embolism. In case of severe regurgitation the rate of embolic complications was reduced (54% vs. 77%; p < 0.05). In PVE, fever was a risk factor for embolic events. Staphylococcus aureus was also a frequent microorganism in embolism (45% vs. 22%). The in-hospital mortality was significantly increased in case of embolism (NVE 40% vs. 11%; p < 0.001; PVE 36% vs. 9% p < 0.05). About 50% of all embolic events occurred before admission. In NVE, due to high in-hospital mortality, the rate of patients with embolism undergoing surgery was lower (57% vs. 72%; p < 0.05); whereas in PVE no significant difference was observed. In patients with NVE, aspirin therapy because of coronary artery disease appeared to reduce the rate of embolic complications (11% vs. 47%). However, the low number of patients on aspirin (9%) does not allow recommendations regarding a potential benefit. In conclusion, identification of risk factors leading to embolism in IE may be useful in considering early surgical therapy. However, the high rate of embolic complications before hospital admission indicates a need for improving the diagnostic delay in the prehospital phase.

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