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Emerging issues in infective endocarditis.

Infective endocarditis, a serious infection of the endocardium of the heart, particularly the heart valves, is associated with a high degree of illness and death. It generally occurs in patients with altered and abnormal heart architecture, in combination with exposure to bacteria through trauma and other potentially high-risk activities involving transient bacteremia. Knowledge about the origins of endocarditis stems from the work of Fernel in the early 1500s, and yet this infection still presents physicians with major diagnostic and management dilemmas. Endocarditis is caused by a variety of bacteria and fungi, as well as emerging infectious agents, including Tropheryma whipplei, Bartonella spp., and Rickettsia spp. We review the evolution of endocarditis and compare its progression with discoveries in microbiology, science, and medicine.


Endocarditis is a noncontagious chronic infection of the valves or lining of the heart, mainly caused by bacteria, although fungi can also be associated with this infection (1). The risk of infection of heart valves in persons predisposed to acquiring infective endocarditis increases with the following conditions: congenital heart disease, rheumatic fever, major dental treatment, open heart surgery, and genitourinary procedures. New evidence is growing that changes in social behavior, such as an increase in the incidence of body piercing, excessive alcohol consumption, and the use of intravenous self-administered illicit drugs may also predispose a susceptible person to an increased risk of acquiring endocarditis. The patient may exhibit any of the following signs and symptoms: fatigue and weakness; weight loss; fever and chills; night sweats; heart murmur; aches and pains; painful nodes in the pads of fingers and toes; red spots on skin of palms and soles; nail abnormalities; swelling of feet, legs, and abdomen; shortness of breath with activity; and blood in the urine. A medical history, physical examination, and echocardiogram are usually performed. Blood samples are usually taken, and the physical and biochemical properties of the blood are investigated. Endocarditis is usually curable provided an early diagnosis is made, and the patient receives the appropriate antimicrobial treatment; the time needed for recovery is approximately 6-8 weeks. The patient generally requires long-term antimicrobial drugs (4-6 weeks), hospitalization, and in some cases, valve replacement. A number of complications may be associated with the disease such as blood clots, stroke, heart rhythm problems, abscesses, and other infections. Infective endocarditis is associated with severe illness and death and generally occurs in patients with altered and abnormal heart architecture who have been exposed to bacteria through trauma and other potentially high-risk activities.

In 1885, Sir William Osler presented three Gulstonian Lectures on the topic of malignant endocarditis, which gave a comprehensive account of the disease and outlined the difficulties in its diagnosis (2). The disease had, in fact, been described by a French Renaissance physician, Jean Frangois Fernel, approximately 350 years previously (3). More than 100 years alter Osler's lectures, this serious infection can still remain a diagnostic and therapeutic dilemma. Its name has been changed several times, first to "bacterial endoearditis" and subsequently to "infective endocarditis" after the observation that microbiologic agents other than bacteria may cause the disease. In the early years of the new millennium, infective endocarditis still proves to be difficult to diagnose and is associated with a high death rate (21%-35%). Although many developments have taken place with respect to antimicrobial drug therapy in the treatment of the disease, its incidence is continuing to rise, with 3.3 cases per 100,000 population per year in the United Kingdom, with similar figures for the United States and 1.4-4.0 cases per 100,000 population per year in Europe as a whole (4). The reasons for this rise are the following: 1) longer survival of patients with degenerative heart diseases, 2) increased use of antibiotics, 3) increased incidence of prosthetic heart valves, 4) congenital heart disease in younger children, 5) increase in bicuspid valve disease, 6) advances in medical and surgical treatments, 7) increase in the number of injection drug users, and 8) more sensitive and specific diagnosis. Generally, the incidence is higher in men than in women (2:1), and the average age group affected is in the fifth decade (2).

Historical Perspective

A historical description of developments in endocarditis closely reflects concurrent developments in laboratory medicine, particularly microbiology. Much of the innovations and developments relating to infective endocarditis were made by physicians in Europe, particularly in France (Appendix). Important contributions were, however, made by several German physicians, particularly in association with the birth of bacteriology (Appendix). More recently, the United States has played a strong role in helping define guidelines and diagnostic criteria that facilitate diagnosing infective endocarditis, including the Beth Israel (5), Duke (6) (Table 1), and modified Duke criteria (7,8) (Table 2). In addition, the American Heart Association has published several seminal articles on the antibiotic treatment and prevention of infective endocarditis (9).

For approximately the first 200 years after the disease was initially described, the anatomy of the heart and heart valves in the diseased state of infective endocarditis was comprehensively elucidated in medical anatomical sketches made after postmortem examination. (For a comprehensive account of the early description of endocarditis, see Contrepois [10].) Not until the early to mid-1800s were descriptions recorded of the medical signs and symptoms of the disease in live patients. Such descriptions included the detection of cardiac murmurs, after percussion and auscultation. Detection of such murmurs was aided by the development of the stethoscope in 1816. From 1830 to 1840, elevated body temperature was recorded as an important symptom of the disease. However, not until the late 1800s and early 1900s was a comprehensive synthesis of information formed by various scholars in Europe and North America, including Sir William Osier in Canada (2) and Thomas Horder in England (11) (Appendix). Osier and Horder were instrumental in establishing fundamental mechanisms regarding the pathophysiology of infective endocarditis and are, to a large degree, responsible for how we view endocarditis today. The Figure (online only; available at: vol10no6/03-0848-G..htm) and Appendix chronologically map the history of infective endocarditis, including diagnostic developments, treatment, and prevention, and emerging causal agents.

The birth of bacteriology as a separate discipline of pathology gave rise to the introduction of the important description of microbiology in the etiology of infective endocarditis. With the early technical innovations of Pasteur in France in the 1880s, routine blood cultures were introduced in the late 19th century as an important part of laboratory investigation into the microbiologic causes of infective endocarditis. Although causal agents of infective endocarditis could now be detected and clearly described, little could be achieved in terms of their eradication because the existence of antibiotics was as yet unknown. However, in Germany, Gerard Domagk, bacteriologist and pathologist, was appointed as director of the I.G. Farbenindustrie (Bayer) Laboratory for Experimental Pathology and Bacteriology in Wuppertal in 1925. Domagk was innovative in that he began to experiment with dyes, looking for their possible effects against various infections. He described the effect of prontosil red against streptococcal infections in mice; the active component of prontosil was later described as sulfanilamide. At approximately the same time, Sir Alexander Fleming discovered the antibacterial effects of a secondary metabolite (penicillin), produced from a filamentous fungus. Such discoveries were revolutionary because medicine now had an effective means of treating bacterial infections, including infective endocarditis, caused by a wide variety of bacterial pathogens, most notably Streptococcus species. Since wild-type pathogens had not had sufficient time to develop resistance to these newly described antimicrobial agents, treatment failures due to resistance were infrequent. Fleming did observe, however, that some organisms were resistant to penicillin and suggested that the phenomenon be followed up. Approximately 60 years later, the marked increase in resistance to antimicrobial agents is cause for concern on all continents. The tangible consequence is that clinicians may have fewer antimicrobial agents to treat both benign and serious infections, including infective endocarditis. To combat the threat of such a "postantibiotic era," the global pharmaceutical industry has responded by producing novel antimicrobial agents, including the carbapenems (imipenem and ertapenem), the oxozolidones (linezolid), and improved antifungal agents (caspofungin and voriconazole), which prolong antimicrobial effectiveness before the problem of resistance evolves with such new agents.

Over the past century, streptococci and staphylococci have remained the main causative organisms associated with infective endocarditis, with an increase in cases due to staphylococci associated with injection drug users and HIV patients. With substantial advances made in the isolation and identification of microorganisms, scientists now recognize a wide spectrum of causal organisms. Although rare, infective endocarditis is caused by gram-negative organisms such as the HACEK (Haemophilus aphrophilus, Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans, Cardiobacterium hominis, Eikenella corrodens, Kingella kingae) group, Bartonella spp., and Coxiella burnetii. More recently, cases of fungal endocarditis have increased, particularly in postoperative patients, injection drag users, and immuno-compromised patients (4).

A history of rheumatic fever can serve as a risk factor for acquiring infective endocarditis. The incidence of rheumatic fever, which was common as recently as a century ago, is relatively rare today (12). This decline in the incidence of rheumatic fever has not been mirrored by a pro rata decrease in the incidence of infective endocarditis, which suggests that additional etiologic factors are becoming more important in acquiring endocarditis.

Current Trends and Future Concerns

Although endocarditis has been documented for approximately 450 years, the diagnostic challenges and treatment dilemmas are as real today as they were in the time of Fernel (3). Major advances have been made in the diagnosis of endocarditis, in both laboratory and clinical (imaging) parameters, but we are witnessing the emergence of several newly described causal bacterial species, such as Tropheryma whipplei and Bartonella spp., as well as sporadic case reports of unusual and uncommon causal organisms, including Finegoldia sp., Gemella spp., and Abiotrophia defectiva. In addition, since diagnostic methods, mainly 16S rDNA polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and sequencing, are now beginning to identify such infections, no evidence base exists to help determine effective antimicrobial drug regimens to successfully treat endocarditis caused by such organisms. Furthermore, as specimens from many of these infections are culture-negative, conventional antibiotic susceptibility testing does not help the cardiologist decide on the most suitable antimicrobial drug regimens. Another current concern is that we may be returning to a time in which we are largely unable to successfully treat simple infections from panresistant organisms, a scenario that some have described as the postantibiotic era. Indeed, in Northern Ireland, we have now witnessed our first cases of penicillin-resistant pneumococcal meningitis and endocarditis. The increasing incidence of congenital heart disease in children and changing social trends accentuate risk factors for endocarditis.

Endothelial cell dysfunction, resulting from a combination of atypical mechanical forces due to altered cardiac architecture and microbial infection, may lead to an episode of infective endocarditis. Because the endothelium helps regulate vascular tone, inflammation, thrombosis, and vascular remodeling, any insult to the host endothelium may result in infective endocarditis, in which the valves may show changes in the synthetic, morphologic, and metabolic functions of the valvular endothelial cells (13).

Cases in Well-known Persons

Although a relatively uncommon infection, infective endocarditis has been the primary cause of death of several well-known persons, particularly those involved with the arts. One of the late 19th and early 20th century's most influential composers, Gustav Mahler (1860-1911), died from streptococcal endocarditis (10,14). The first sign of valvular problems was observed in 1907, where a compensated mitral contraction was noted. For the next 3 years, he showed little evidence of symptoms of valvular disease until late 1910, when he spent Christmas and the New Year's holiday nursing a sore throat. He was in New York City where he conducted a Philharmonic Orchestra concert on January 17, including the first performance of a revised version of his fourth symphony. On February 24, he became ill with endocarditis, initially diagnosed as influenza. He was attended by one of the most prominent physicians in the city, Emanuel Libman, an important exponent of the value of bacterial blood cultures. Libman demonstrated the presence of viridans streptococci in a large volume (200 mL) of blood drawn from Mahler. Mahler's initial treatment consisted of a "serum treatment" of the times, as well as Metchnikoff's Bulgarian Milk. The latter treatment appeared to work, until early May when blood cultures returned positive with viridans streptococci. The endocarditis was now very marked, with septic abscesses beginning to appear in other parts of his body. On May 18, Mahler died. His untimely death prevented society from hearing him conduct a completed version of his tenth symphony as well as his own opportunity to hear the first public performance of his ninth symphony, which took place on June 26, 1912, by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.

Ottorino Respighi (1879-1936) was an Italian composer who died at the age of 57 from endocarditis. The first signs of Respighi's endocarditis were noted in late 1935, when he was working on his opera Lucrezia; at that time, he was observed to be extremely fatigued, but the cause was unknown (14). In January 1936, S. viridans endocarditis was noted when this organism was isolated from his blood. Although sulfonamide drugs were dispatched from Berlin for his treatment, the treatment was unsuccessful, possibly due to the advanced stages of sepsis.

One of Scotland's most famous poets, Roberts Burns (1759-1796), perhaps best known for writing Auld Lang Syne, also had infective endocarditis. He died in July 1796 at the age of 37 years (15). Some historians claim that Burns's work in his teenage years on his father's tenant farm in southwest Scotland did the primary damage to his health. However, Burns's history of rheumatic fever likely predisposed him to infective endocarditis. Burns was attended medically by William Maxwell (1760-1834), who described Burns's symptoms as "flying gout" and prescribed sea-bathing in country quarters and horse riding, so-called cures that probably hastened Burns's death. However, Burns's affinity for alcohol may have contributed to the suppression of his immune system, thus hastening the illness and ultimately his death.

One of the most famous physicians to die of endocarditis was Alois Alzheimer (1864-1915). Alzheimer is most widely known for his description of an "unusual disease of the cerebral cortex," which affected a woman in her fifties, causing memory loss, disorientation, hallucinations, and ultimately her death at age 55. The disease was named after him by his senior mentor at the Munich Medical School, Emil Kraepelin. Alzheimer was also cofounder and copublisher of the journal Zeitschrift fur die gesamte Neurologie und Psychiatrie. Alzheimer's last position was professor of psychiatry at the University of Breslau (now Wroclaw, Poland), which he held for the last 3 years of his life. Historians report that a severe cold was the beginning of Alzheimer's final illness, but endocarditis was responsible for his death at the age of 51 years (16).

Orville Gibson, guitar manufacturer (1856-1918), was another musician who died from endocarditis (17). Gibson's patent contained his ideas for the construction of a mandolin with a carved top and back and with sides, which were constructed from a solid section of wood rather than from thin strips, in 1902, Gibson's physical and mental health began to fail, and he had a history of poor health until 1911. He returned to the St. Lawrence State Hospital, Ogdensburg, New York, in August 1916, a psychiatric center. On August 21, 1918, Gibson died of endocarditis while a patient in the institution.

Rudolph Valentino (1895-1926), a famous actor of the silent screen, also had endocarditis, which also led to his death (18). Valentino had a perforated gastric ulcer closed on August 15, 1926; however, he died from endocarditis on August 23, 1926, at the age of 31 years.

More recently, endocarditis has been described as the cause of death for John Glascock (1951-1997), the recording bass player with the rock band Jethro Tull. Glascock had a tooth abscess, which was believed to be the site of entry for an infectious agent that caused endocarditis. Endocarditis developed in Brian Littrell (1975-), singer with the Backstreet Boys, at the age of 5 years (he was born with a ventricular septal defect, although surgery was not recommended at the time) (19). Brian was admitted to St. Joseph's Hospital, Lexington, Kentucky, where he received extensive intravenous therapy. Endocarditis also developed in a young American actor, Sebastian Hitzig, after he accidentally stepped on a toothpick contaminated with Staphylococcus aureus.

In conclusion, considering infective endocarditis to be an "emerging" problem in the 21st century may seem unusual, given that the illness has been well documented over the last 450 years. However, such emergence can be attributed to several factors: 1) the emergence of antimicrobial resistance in classic infective endocarditis microflora, namely, the gram-positive cocci; 2) the existence of antimicrobial resistance in complex ecologic biofilms; 3) the changing pattern of causal agents now regarded as important pathogens of infective endocarditis, e.g., Bartonella spp., T. whipplei, and fungi; and 4) changing epidemiologic trends of persons who acquire infective endocarditis, including injection drug users, persons with HIV/AIDS, children with congenital heart defects, and persons undergoing body piercing. Furthermore, the way we provide inpatient medical care has also been associated with the emergence of nosocomial infective endocarditis, which can result from invasive procedures such as catheterization, although no cardiac surgery has been performed. The next 100 years will likely witness the emergence of even more changing trends of infective endocarditis, which as yet have not been well recognized.

Although this "old" disease has evolved over the last 450 years, diagnostic and treatment options have developed in tandem, and the prognosis of this disease has markedly improved. However, the emergence of novel etiologic agents, changing social trends, and increased antimicrobial resistance have allowed this disease to remain evasive, which will require new approaches, particularly relating to treatment options in the future.
Appendix. Chronology of important scientific and medical events in the
history of infective endocarditis (a)

Year Scientist/physician, Country

1554 Jean Francois Fernel, France
1669 Richard Lower, England
1646 Lazarus Riverius, France
1708 Giovanni Maria Lancisi, Italy
1715 Raymond Vieussens, France
1749 Jean-Baptiste Senac, France
1769 Giovanni Battistu Morgagni,
1784 Eduard Sandifort, France
1797 Matthew Baillie, England
1799 Xavier Bichat, France
1806 Jean Nicholas Corvisart,
1809 Allan Burns, England
1815 Friedrich Kreysig, Germany
1816 Theophile Laennec, France
1832 James Hope, England
1835-40 Jean-Baptiste Bouillaud,
1852 William Senhouse Kirkes,
1858-71 Rudolph Virchow, Germany
1861 Jean-Martin Charot, France
1861 Alfred Vulpian, Germany
1862 Etienne Lancereaux, France
1868-70 Samuel Wilks, England
1869 Emmanuel Winge, Norway
1872 Hjalmar Heiberg, Norway
1878 Edwin Klebs, Germany
1878 Ottomar Rosenbach,
1878 Karl Koester, Germany
1879 Joseph Hamburg, Germany
1879 Germain See, France
1880 Jacques Doleris, France
1881-86 Arnold Netter, France
1883 Michel Peter, France
1884 Joseph Grancher, France
1886 Valimir Wyssokowitsch and
 Johannes Orth, Germany
1885 Sir William Osler, Canada
1899 Hermann Lenhartz, Austria
1903 Hugo Schottmuller, Germany
1909 John Alexander Mullen,
1909 Sir Thomas Horder, England
1910 Emmanual Libman, USA
1981 Von Reyn, USA
1994 David Durack, USA
1995 American Heart Association,
1996 Pierre Fournier, France
1997 American Heart Association,
1997 Lamas and Eykyn, UK
1998 Working Party of the British
 Society for Antimicrobial
 Chemotherapy, UK
1998 Endocarditis Working Group
 of the International Society
 for Chemotherapy, Europe
2000 Jennifer Li, USA
2002 Beverley C. Millar, UK
2001- Didier Raoult, France

Year Major findings

1554 Earliest report of endocarditis in book Medicini
1669 Accurately described tricuspid valve endocarditis
1646 Described unusual "outgrowths" from autopsy of patient with
 endocarditis; detected murmurs by placing hand on patient's
1708 Described unusual structures in entrance of aorta
1715 Described abnormality in aortic mitral valve
1749 Described valvular lesions
1769 Linked infectious disease and endocarditis; observed
 association with the spleen
1784 Accurately drew intracardiac abnormalities
1797 Showed relationship between rheumatism and heart disease
1799 Described inflammatory process associated with endocarditis
1806 Described unusual structures in heart as "vegetations,"
 syphilitic virus as causative agent of endocarditis, and
 theory of antiviral treatment of endocarditis
1809 Indicated vegetations were not "outgrowths" or "buds" but
 particles adhering to heart wall
1815 Elucidated inflammatory processes associated with
1816 Invented cylindrical stethoscope to listen to heart murmurs;
 dismissed link between venereal disease and endocarditis
1832 Confirmed Laennec's observations
1835-40 Named endocardium and endocarditis; described symptoms;
 prescribed herbal tea and bloodletting as treatment regimen;
 described link between acute rheumatoid arthritis and
1852 Described consequences of embolization of vegetations
 throughout body. Described cutaneous nodules (named "Osler's
 nodes" by Libman)
1858-71 Examined fibrin vegetation associated with endocarditis by
 microscope; coined term "embolism;" discussed role of
 bacteria, vibrios, and micrococci in endocarditis
1861 Confirmed Virchow's theory on emboli
1861 Confirmed Virchow's theory on emboli
1862 Described granulations or foreign elements in blood and
 valves, which were motile and resistant to alkalis
1868-70 Described infected arterial blood as originating from heart;
 proposed scarlet fever as cause of endocarditis
1869 Established "parasites" on skin transported to heart and
 attached to endocardium; named "mycosis endocardii"
1872 Detected microorganisms in vegetations of endocarditis
1878 All cases of endocarditis were infectious in origin
1878 Combined experimental physiology and infection to produce
 animal model of endocarditis in rabbit; noted valve had to
 be damaged before bacteria grafted onto valve
1878 Micrococci enter vessels that valves were fitted into;
 valves exposed to abnormal mechanical attacks over long
 period created favorable niche for bacterial colonization
1879 Virchow's student; employed early animal model of
1879 Proposed etiology of endocarditis was based on infectious
 model and treatment should focus on eliminating "parasitic
1880 Working with Pasteur, proposed use of routine blood cultures
1881-86 Believed endocarditis could appear during various
 infections; noted translocation of respiratory pathogen from
 pulmonary lesion to valve through blood
1883 Believed microorganisms were result, not cause, of
1884 Named disease "infective endocarditis"
1886 Demonstrated various bacteria introduced to bloodstream
 could cause endocarditis on valve that had previous lesion
1885 Synthesized work of others relating to endocarditis
1899 Described streptococcal, staphylococcal, pneumococcal, and
 gonococcal endocarditis
1903 First described "endocarditis lenta"
1909 Credited by Osler as first to observe cutaneous nodes (named
 "Osler's nodes" by Libman) in patients with endocarditis
1909 Analyzed 150 cases of endocarditis and published diagnostic
 criteria relating to signs and symptoms
1910 Described initial classification scheme to include
 "subacute endocarditis," with clinical signs/symptoms;
 absolute diagnosis required blood cultures
1981 Described Beth Israel criteria based on strict case
1994 New criteria utilizing specific echocardiographic findings
1995 Antibiotic treatment of adults with infective endocarditis
 caused by streptococci, enterococci, staphylococci, and
 HACEK (a) microorganisms
1996 Modified Duke criteria to allow serologic diagnosis of
 Coxiella burnetii
1997 Guidelines for preventing bacterial endocarditis
1997 Suggested modifications to Duke criteria for clinical
 diagnosis of native valve and prosthetic valve endocarditis:
 analysis of 118 pathologically proven cases
1998 Guidelines for antibiotic treatment of streptococcal,
 enterococcal, and staphylococcal endocarditis
1998 Antibiotic treatment of infective endocarditis due to
 viridans streptococci, enterococci, and other streptococci;
 recommendations for surgical treatment of endocarditis
2000 Updated and modified Duke criteria
2002 Modified Duke criteria to include a molecular diagnosis of
 causal agents (20)
2001- Described etiology of Bartonella spp., Tropheryma whipplei,
2003 and Coxiella burnetii in endocarditis

(a) HACEK, Haemophilus aphrophilus, Actinobacillus
actinomycetemcomitans, Cardiobacterium horninis, Eikenella corrodens,
Kingella kingae group, Bartonella spp., and Coxiella burnetii.

Table 1. Original Duke criteria for the diagnosis and classification of
infective endocarditis (a)

Major criteria Minor criteria Diagnosis

1. Positive blood culture 1. Predisposition 1. Definite
i) Typical organism in Heart condition 2 Major
[greater than or equal to] Drug abuse 1 Major and 3
2 blood cultures in the minor
absence of a primary focus 5 Minor
(Staphylococcus aureus, pathologic/histo-
enterococci, viridans logic findings
streptococci, Streptococcus
bovis, HACEK)
ii) Persistently positive
blood culture drawn more
than 12 h apart or all 3/4
drawn at least 1 h apart
between first and last
2. Evidence of endocardial 2. Fever 2. Possible
involvement >38[degrees]C Findings fell
i) Positive echocardiogram short of the defi-
(TOE) Oscillating intra- nite but not
cardiac mass on valve, rejected catego-
implanted material or ries
supporting structures in
path of regurgitant jets
 New partial dehiscence
 of prosthetic valve
ii) New valvular regurgita-
 3. Vascular pheno- 3. Rejected
 mena Alternate diagno-
 Major arterial sis
 emboli Janeway Resolution of the
 lesions Septic infection with
 pulmonary infarcts antibiotic therapy
 4. Immunologic for [less than or
 phenomena equal to] 4 days
 Oslers nodes No pathologic
 Roth spots evidence after
 Rheumatoid factor antibiotic therapy
 5. Microbiologic
 Positive blood
 culture not
 meeting major
 Positive serologic
 6. Endocardio-
 graphic evidence
 Consistent with
 infective endocar-
 ditis but not
 meeting the major

(a) Source: (6); HACEK, Haemophilus aphrophilus, Actinobacillus
actinomycetemcomitans, Cardiobacterium hominis, Eikenella corrodens,
and Kingella kingae group; TOE, transesophageal echocardiogram.

Table 2. Recent suggested modifications to the Duke criteria for the
diagnosis of infective endocarditis (IE) (a)

 Microbiologic Biochemical

Blood culture Elevated level of
 Bacteremia due to CRP >100 mg/L
 Staphylococcus aureus Elevated ESR
 should be considered a defined as more
 major criterion than one and a
 regardless of whether half times higher
 the infection is than normal,
 nosocomially acquired i.e.,
 or whether a removable >30 mm/h for
 source of infection is patients <60
 present years of age
Serology >50 mm/h for
 Positive for Coxiella patients >60
 burnetii (major years of age
 Positive for Bartonella
 Positive for Chlamydia
 Evidence for the
 presence of bacterial
 or fungal DNA in blood
 or valve material
 (major criterion)

 Microbiologic Clinical

Blood culture Possible endocarditis now
 Bacteremia due to defined as one major and
 Staphylococcus aureus one minor criterion or
 should be considered a three minor criteria
 major criterion Omission of criterion
 regardless of whether echocardiogram consistent
 the infection is with IE but not meeting
 nosocomially acquired major criterion"
 or whether a removable Newly diagnosed clubbing
 source of infection is Evidence of splinter
 present hemorrhages
Serology Petechiae
 Positive for Coxiella Microscopic hematuria
 burnetii (major (disregarded for patients
 criterion) with positive urine
 Positive for Bartonella cultures, menstruating
 spp. women, patients with end-
 Positive for Chlamydia stage renal disease and
 spp. patients with urinary
Molecular catheters)
 Evidence for the Presence of central
 presence of bacterial nonfeeding venous lines
 or fungal DNA in blood or peripheral venous
 or valve material lines (minor)
 (major criterion) Purpura

(a) Sources: (7,8); CRP, C-reactive protein; ESR, erythrocyte
sedimentation rate.


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(6.) Durack DT, Lukes AS, Bright DK; Duke Endocarditis Service. New criteria for diagnosis of infective endocarditis: utilization of specific echocardiographic findings. Am J Med. 1994;96:200-9.

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(8.) Naber CK, Erbel R. Diagnosis of culture negative endocarditis: novel strategies to prove the suspect guilty. Heart. 2003;89:241-3.

(9.) Dajani AS, Taubert KA, Wilson W, Bolger AF, Bayer A, Ferrieri P. et al. Prevention of bacterial endocarditis. Recommendations by the American Heart Association. JAMA. 1997;277:1794-801.

(10.) Contrepois A. Towards a history of infective endocarditis. Med History. 1996;40:25-54.

(11.) Horder TJ. Infective endocarditis with an analysis of 150 cases and with special reference to the chronic form of the disease. QJM. 1909:289-324.

(12.) Leask RL, Jain N, Butany J. Endothelium and valvular diseases of the heart. Microsc Res Tech. 2003;60:129-37.

(13.) English PC. Emergence of rheumatic fever in the nineteenth century. Millbank Quarterly. 1989;67(Suppl I):33-49.

(14.) Rietschel ET. Immortal music and deadly septicemia: death of famous composers by bacterial blood poisoning. Endotoxin Newsletter. 2000; 10:4-5.

(15.) Burns encyclopedia: Death of Burns [cited 2004 Apr 23]. Available from: shtml

(16.) Alzheimer Society Toronto. Alois Alzheimer 1864-1915 [cited 2004 Apr 23]. Available from:

(17.) Orville H. Gibson 1856-1918 [cited 2004 Apr 23]. Available from:

(18.) Rudolph Valentino chronology [cited 2004 Apr 23]. Available from:

(19.) Nurses and doctors help Backstreet Boy teach heart health [cited 2004 Apr 23]. Available from: tigerlilies/234/article026.html

(20.) Millar B, Moore J, Mallon P. Xu J, Crowe M. Mcclurg R, et al. Molecular diagnosis of infective endocarditis--a new Duke's criterion. Scand J Infect Dis. 2001:33:673-80.

Beverley C. Millar * and John E. Moore *

* Belfast City Hospital, Belfast, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom

Dr. Millar is a clinical scientist in molecular medical microbiology at the Northern Ireland Public Health Laboratory, Belfast City Hospital. She has an active research interest in the molecular diagnosis of infectious diseases, in particular, endocarditis.

Dr. Moore is a clinical scientist in medical microbiology at the Northern Ireland Public Health Laboratory, Belfast City Hospital. His research interests include the application of molecular techniques to aid in patient management, particularly of those with cryptosporidiosis, campylobacteriosis, and cystic fibrosis.

Address for correspondence: John E. Moore, Northern Ireland Public Health Laboratory, Department of Bacteriology, Belfast City Hospital. Belfast, BT9 7AD, Northern Ireland, UK; fax: +44-28-2589-2887; email:
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Title Annotation:Historical Review
Author:Moore, John E.
Publication:Emerging Infectious Diseases
Date:Jun 1, 2004
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Infective endocarditis due to Providencia stuartii.
Left ventricular endocardial calcification in a patient with myeloproliferative disease.
Fatal reactive hemophagocytosis related to disseminated histoplasmosis with endocarditis: an unusual case diagnosed at autopsy.

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