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Winning the battle against pseudomonas aeruginosa endocarditis: a case report/Pseudomonas aeruginosa endokarditine karsi savasi kazanmak: vaka sunumu.


Infective endocarditis is a major risk for patients with congenital heart disease and has high mortality and morbidity rates, even though there have been many advances in antimicrobial therapy and surgical intervention techniques. Gram positive microorganisms, such as staphylococcus and streptococcus species, are the most commonly isolated organisms. Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a rare causative organism for infective endocarditis. It usually affects the right side of the heart, which is usually seen in intravenous drug users. Incidence of pseudomonas endocarditis has increased due to a higher frequency of drug abuse, heart surgery and bacteremia. Mortality from pseudomonas infective endocarditis remains high despite optimal use of available antibacterial agents and also the treatment plan is very challenging as there is no consensus to date. We report a patient with tetralogy of Fallot and recurrent P. aeruginosa endocarditis after corrective cardiac surgery. We wish to emphasize the importance of surgical intervention and also recall the significance of lenght-ening the antipseudomonal combination therapy. (Cocuk Enf Derg 2010; 4: 114-6)

Key words: Infective endocarditis, congenital heart disease, pediatric


Enfektif endokardit, konjenital kalp hastaligi bulunan hastalarda, antimikrobiyal ve cerrahi alaninda olan gelismelere ragmen onemli bir morbidite ve mortalite nedenidir. Stafilokok ve streptokok gibi gram pozitif mikroorganizmalar en sik izole edilen etkenlerdendir. Pseudomonas aeruginosa enfektif endokarditin nadir gorulen patojenlerindendir. Genellikle ilac bagimlilarinda gorulmektedir ve kalbin sag tarafini etkilemektedir. Artan ilac bagimliligi, kalp cerrahisi ve bakteriyemi nedeniyle pseudomonas endokarditinin sikligi da artis gostermistir. Pseudomonasa bagli enfektif endokarditin yol actigi mortalite, uygun antimikrobiyel ajanlarin kullanimina ragmen halen yuksek seyretmektedir ve tedavi plani uzerinde henuz tam olarak uzlasilama-digindan zorlayici olmaya devam etmektedir. Bu vaka sunumunda Fallot tetralojisi olan bir hastanin cerrahi sonrasi tekrarlayan P. aeruginosa endokarditi sunularak cerrahinin ve antipsodomonal kombinasyon tedavinin uzatilmasinin onemi vurgulanmistir. (Cocuk Enf Derg 2010; 4: 114-6)

Anahtar kelimeler: Infektif endokardit, konjenital kalp hastaligi, pediyatrik


Infective endocarditis is an infection of the endocardial surface of the heart which is a major problem for patients with congenital heart disease and has high mortality and morbidity rates despite advances in antimicrobial treatment and surgery (1). Gram positive microorganisms such as staphylococcus and streptococcus species are the most common causative organisms. Pseudomonas aeruginosa is rarely reported as an etiological agent for infective endocarditis. It usually affects the right-side of heart, which is encountered in intravenous drug users. Other rare conditions that might cause pseudomonas endocarditis are heart surgery and P. aeruginosa bacteremia (2,3).

Treatment of P. aeruginosa endocarditis is a point of discussion and as yet there has been no concensus on treatment. In our case, the importance of surgical intervention and the significance of lenghtening the antipseu-domonal combination therapy in case of pseudomonas endocarditis is emphasized.

Case Report

A 2-year old boy was admitted to our hospital with the diagnosis of Fallot Tetralogy for corrective surgery and complete correction was made and a patch was used for the ventriculoseptal defect. Seven days after the operation, he became febrile and no vegetation or collection was detected by transthoracic echocardiographic scans performed on the same day. The white blood cell count was 28 x 109 / L, C-reactive protein was 8.6 mg/dL (N:0-0.8), and erythrocyte sedimentation rate was 10 mm/ hour. Blood cultures were taken and sulbactam- ampicil-lin and amicasin therapy was started empirically. Pseudomonas aeruginosa was isolated from blood culture. His antimicrobial therapy was then arranged as meropenem and amikacin Repeated blood cultures on 10th and 13th postoperative days (first and third day of meropenem and amicasin therapy) also revealed P. aeruginosa. On the fourth day of meropenem and amikacin, he became afebrile. Control blood cultures were negative after the fifth day of anti-pseudomonal therapy. Antibiotics were stopped after day 28 of treatment and he was discharged.

Two months later, he became febrile again. There was vegetation on the patch on control transthoracic echocardiography and therapy for infective endocarditis was started--as vancomycin, ceftazidime and netilmicin empirically because of previous P. aeruginosa endocarditis, and on the third day of hospitalization pseudomonas was isolated from blood culture once again and ceftazidime was changed to meropenem according to susceptibility result of the culture. On the third week of therapy, ciprofloxacin was added to the therapy regimen due to persistance of vegetation on echocardiograpy. At the second month of therapy, because of persistance of vegetation on the patch, vegetation on the tricuspid valve and patch was removed and a new patch was placed. After an additional 34 days of meropenem, ciprofloxacin and aminoglycoside therapy, the patient was discharged.

One month after discharge, the patient was readmitted to our hospital with the complaint of fever. A transthoracic echocardiography revealed vegetations in the right ventricle. Meropenem and amikacin therapy was initiated and P. aeruginosa was isolated once more. Surgery was performed on the third day of hospitalization and vegetations from the right ventricle were removed and also P. aeruginosa was isolated from surgical material. He became afebrile after surgery and therapy was modifed to ceftazidime, amikacin and cip-rofloaxcin. He was discharged after 68 days of antimicrobial therapy.

There was no relapse after this combination of prolonged medical therapy and surgical treatment at 6 months follow up period.


Gram-negative bacilli are responsible for 5.3-12% of endocarditis. Pseudomonas aeruginosa is present in 30 to 50% of these cases and the majority are observed in intravenous drug users. Also, patients with catheters and prosthetic heart valves are at increased risk for P aeruginosa endocarditis (4). In a study by Ishiwada et al, P aeruginosa was found to be responsible for 2.1% of infective endocarditis of patients with congenital heart disease (2). Risk factors for pseuodomonas endocarditis are valvular heart abnormalities, congenital heart diseases, heart surgery, intravenous drug usage, presence of central catheters, hemodialysis, cardiac catheterization, gastrointestinal and genitourinary procedures (5).

P. aeruginosa usually affects tricuspid valves and the right ventricle, causing symptoms and signs of septic pulmonary emboli. Management of P. aeruginosa endocarditis is difficult, especially when causing left-sided disease, as infection is acute, aggressive and poorly responsive to antibiotics. There is no consensus on the duration of antibiotic therapy. In our case, the antimicrobial therapy period was 21 days in the initial course, 34 days in the first relapse and 68 days in the last attack supported by surgical intervention. In case of pseudomonal endocarditis, failure of treatment could be caused by the emergence of resistance during the period of therapy and might also caused by discordance of in vitro and in vivo antimicrobial susceptibilities (6). Recent studies suggest that left-sided P. aeruginosa infective endocarditis is an aggressive disease with mortality rates ranging from 50 to 85% in patients treated with medical therapy alone. One of the challenging aspects of pseudomonal endocarditis treatment is the requirement of higher concentration of antimicrobial agents, as penetration of the antimicrobial agent is decreased to the bacterial cell because of polyanionic glycocalyx biofilm formation of P. aeruginosa (7). It is stated that reduced antibiotic penetrance within left- sided vegetations contributes to strikingly higher mortality of left-sided disease compared to right sided disease (8).

Medical treatment is usually composed of a combination of two anti-pseudomonal agents, usually an extended-spectrum penicillin with an aminoglycoside. Meropenem has the broadest antibacterial spectrum of any p-lactam agent available and has greater intrinsic activity in vitro against clinical isolates of P. aeruginosa than quinolone and comparable anti-pseudomonal p-lactam antimicrobials such as ceftazidime and piperacillin (9). One of the advantages of p -lactam antimicrobials is their ability to reach high concentrations within vegetations and this is important for treatment success (8). Aminoglycoside and p-lactam antibiotics have demonstrated in vitro synergy in endocarditis caused by P. aeruginosa (10).

In our case, carbapenem plus aminoglycoside therapy is not eradicative in the repeated episodes and in the last attack cure was achieved by anti-pseudomonal p-lactam, quinolone and aminoglycoside combination with a long course of therapy in addition to surgery.

We would like to notify that pseudomonal endocarditis with prosthetic or foreign material could not be eradicated without surgical removal. Even after surgical removal, anti-pseudomonal therapy should be prolonged to prevent relapses. When antimicrobial therapy is a matter of concern, quinolones could be an option as a combination agent even in children.


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(4.) Komshian SV, Tablan OC, Palutke W, Reyes MP. Characteristics of left-sided endocarditis due to Pseudomonas aeruginosa in the Detroit Medical Center. Rev Infect Dis 1990; 12: 693-702.

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(6.) Bicanic TA, Eykyn SJ. Hospital-acquired, native valve endocarditis caused by Pseudomonas aeruginosa. J Infect 2002; 44: 137-9.

(7.) Costerton JW. The etiology and persistence of cryptic bacterial infections: a hypothesis. Rev Infect Dis 1984; 6: 608-16.

(8.) Bayer AS, Crowell DJ, Yih J, Bradley DW, Norman DC. Comparative pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of amikacin and ceftazidime in tricuspid and aortic vegetations in experimental Pseudomonas endocarditis. J Infect Dis 1988; 158: 355-9.

(9.) Llosa JC, Gosalbez F, Cofino JL, Naya JL, Valle JM. Pulmonary valve endocarditis: mid-term follow up of pulmonary vasectomies. J Heart Valve Dis 2000; 9: 359-63.

(10.) laconis JP, Pitkin DH, Sheikh W, Nadler HL. Comparison of antibacterial activities of meropenem and six other antimicrobials against Pseudomonas aeruginosa isolates from North American studies and clinical trials. Clin Infect Dis 1997; 24: 191-6.

Aslinur Ozkaya Parlakay [1], Ates Kara [1], Istemihan Celik [2], Ali Bulent Cengiz [1], Tevfik Karagoz [3], Ilker Devrim [4], Mehmet Ceyhan [1]

[1] Hacettepe Universitesi Tip Fakultesi, Cocuk Enfeksiyon Hastaliklari Bilim Dali, Ankara, Turkey

[2] Zekai Tahir Burak Hastanesi, Ankara, Turkey

[3] Hacettepe Universitesi Tip Fakultesi, Cocuk Kardiyoloji Unitesi, Ankara, Turkey

[4] Behcet Uz Hastanesi, Izmir, Turkey

Gelis Tarihi: 26.03.2010

Kabul Tarihi: 26.04.2010

Correspondence Address: Yazisma Adresi:

Aslinur Ozkaya Parlakay, MD

Ankara Universitesi

Tip Fakultesi, Cocuk Enfeksiyon

Hastaliklari Bilim Dali, Ankara, Turkey

Phone.: +90 312 305 11 66


doi: 10.5152/ced.2010.17
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Case Report/Olgu Sunumu
Author:Parlakay, Aslinur Ozkaya; Kara, Ates; Celik, Istemihan; Cengiz, Ali Bulent; Karagoz, Tevfik; Devrim,
Publication:Journal of Pediatric Infection
Article Type:Case study
Geographic Code:7TURK
Date:Sep 1, 2010
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