What are the symptoms and complications of IV-drug-abuse (IVDA) infective endocarditis (IE)?

Updated: Jan 03, 2019
  • Author: John L Brusch, MD, FACP; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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Patients with right-sided intravenous drug abuse (IVDA) IE (53% of cases) frequently present with pleuropulmonary (pneumonia and/or empyema) manifestations. Symptoms due to metastatic infection develop early in a disease course caused by S aureus. Right-sided disease is associated with a low rate of congestive heart failure and valvular perforation.

Infection with P aeruginosa has a high rate of neurological involvement, with 2 distinctive features: (1) mycotic aneurysms with a higher-than-average rate of rupture and (2) panophthalmitis (10% of patients). The course of infection with P aeruginosa is much slower than that of S aureus.

The course of left-sided IVDA IE is similar to that of non-IVDA disease.

Approximately 5-8% of febrile individuals who abuse intravenous drugs have underlying IE. Many users of illicit drugs may lose their fever within a few hours of hospitalization. This phenomenon, termed cotton wool fever, is probably caused by the presence of adulterants contained within the injected drugs.

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