Mortality in Patients with Paravalvular Abscess Diagnosed by Transesophageal Echocardiography

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Paravalvular abscess is a complication of endocarditis that may lead to persistent infection, conduction abnormalities, fistula formation, worsening congestive heart failure, and death.


Between 1991 and 2001, paravalvular abscess was identified on transesophageal echocardiography in 24 patients who subsequently underwent surgical treatment. Echocardiographic findings were reviewed for location of abscess, presence of a valvular prosthesis, valvular function, and presence of vegetations. Information gathered included the time interval between transesophageal echocardiography diagnosis and operation, inhospital mortality, and microbiologic data.


Of 24 patients, 9 died, for a mortality of 38%. Of the patients who died, the average survival after operation was 43 days, with a range of 1 to 238 days. Of the 14 patients with significant valvular or paravalvular regurgitation, 8 died (57%). However, of the 10 patients with mild or no regurgitation, only 1 died (10%). This difference was statistically significant (P = .02).


Patients without preserved valve function (those with moderate or severe regurgitation) have a significantly worse outcome (57% mortality) than do those with normal valvular function (10% mortality).

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