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J R Soc Med. 1992 May; 85(5): 262–266.
PMCID: PMC1294601

Infective endocarditis in a district general hospital.


Thirty-three cases of infective endocarditis presenting during a 6.5 year period to a district general hospital were analysed retrospectively. The annual incidence was 22 cases per million population. Twenty-two cases had pre-existing cardiac disease, mainly valvular disease-usually rheumatic (nine cases) and prosthetic valves (10 cases). Recognizable precipitants such as recent surgery were uncommon. Two cases presented after deliberate drug overdose possibly due to depression exacerbated by systemic disease. Symptoms were usually non-specific. All but two cases had murmurs and most were pyrexial. Splinter haemorrhages and clubbing were seen in about 20% of cases. Viridans-type streptococci were the commonest infecting organisms (14 cases). Staphylococcal infection (six cases) was confined to intravenous drug abusers and patients with prosthetic valves. Five cases were culture negative. Cardiac failure was present in 13 cases at presentation and developed in seven others during treatment. Acute valve replacement was necessary in eight cases, and late replacement in three. Renal impairment (plasma urea > 8 mmol/l and/or plasma creatinine > 120 mumol/l) occurred in 19 cases during the course of their illness. Embolic phenomena occurred in 12 patients and mostly involved the central nervous system. In the 8 fatal cases, the cause of death was cardiac failure in six, cerebrovascular accident in one, and myocardial infarction in one. Four of the six patients who subsequently died of cardiac failure had been referred for surgery. Both those who were not referred had coexisting medical problems. Factors associated with increased mortality were age, male sex, cardiac failure (P < 0.01), renal impairment (P < 0.05), and embolic phenomena (P < 0.01).(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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