How are patients with prosthetic valve endocarditis (PVE) monitored, and when is valve replacement surgery indicated?

Updated: Jan 03, 2019
  • Author: John L Brusch, MD, FACP; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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Patients with PVE must be monitored carefully for signs of valve dysfunction, congestive heart failure, and heart block. They should also be monitored for clinical response to therapy, conversion of positive blood culture results, renal function status, and serum blood levels of vancomycin and aminoglycosides.

Valve replacement surgery should be performed promptly if any of the following occurs: moderate-to-severe congestive heart failure, valve dysfunction, perivalvular or myocardial abscess formation, the presence of an unstable valve that is becoming detached from the valve ring, more than one embolic episode with persistent vegetations observed on transesophageal echocardiogram, or the presence of vegetations larger than 1 cm in diameter.

If PVE does not respond to antimicrobial therapy and blood cultures results remain positive or if a relapse of bacteremia occurs after infection, the prosthetic valve should be replaced. In the presence of microorganisms that have no microbicidal agent (eg, VRE, fungi) or in the presence of other recalcitrant organisms (eg, P aeruginosa, S aureus, enteric gram-negative rods, Brucella species, C burnetii), past clinical experience shows that early replacement of the prosthetic valve improves the chances for cure.

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