Bacteriological analysis of cardiac valves might be indicated in patients with suspected endocarditis.
We report here a prospective study on fifty-three consecutive patients whose native valves were sent to the bacteriological and pathological laboratories, to investigate the performance of direct microscopic examination of imprints and valve culture.
On the basis of a histopathological gold standard to classify the inflammatory valve process, the sensitivity, the specificity, the positive and the negative predictive values of direct microscopic examination of imprints and valve culture were 21%, 100%, 100%, 60%, and 21%, 72%, 38%, 52% respectively. This weak threshold of the direct microscopic examination of imprints could be due to antimicrobial therapy prescribed before cardiac surgery and the fact that the patients came from a tertiary hospital receiving patients with a prolonged history of endocarditis.
Clinical context and histopathology are indispensable when analyzing the imprints and valve culture.