Rarity of invasiveness in right-sided infective endocarditis

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Abstract

Objective

The rarity of invasiveness of right-sided infective endocarditis (IE) compared with left-sided has not been well recognized and evaluated. Thus, we compared invasiveness of right- versus left-sided IE in surgically treated patients.

Patients and Methods

From January 2002 to January 2015, 1292 patients underwent surgery for active IE, 138 right-sided and 1224 left-sided. Among patients with right-sided IE, 131 had tricuspid and 7 pulmonary valve IE; 12% had prosthetic valve endocarditis. Endocarditis-related invasiveness was based on echocardiographic and operative findings.

Results

Invasive disease was rare on the right side, occurring in 1 patient (0.72%; 95% confidence interval 0.02%-4.0%); rather, it was limited to valve cusps/leaflets or was superficial. In contrast, IE was invasive in 408 of 633 patients with aortic valve (AV) IE (65%), 113 of 369 with mitral valve (MV) IE (31%), and 148 of 222 with AV and MV IE (67%). Staphylococcus aureus was a more predominant organism in right-sided than left-sided IE (right 40%, AV 19%, MV 29%), yet invasion was observed almost exclusively on the left side of the heart, which was more common and more severe with AV than MV IE and more common with prosthetic valve endocarditis than native valve IE.

Conclusions

Rarity of right-sided invasion even when caused by S aureus suggests that invasion and development of cavities/“abscesses” in patients with IE may be driven more by chamber pressure than organism, along with other reported host–microbial interactions. The lesser invasiveness of MV compared with AV IE suggests a similar mechanism: decompression of MV annulus invasion site(s) toward the left atrium.

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