Evaluating Treatment Options for Patients With Infective Endocarditis

When Is It the Right Time for Surgery?

Aneil Malhotra; Bernard D Prendergast


Future Cardiol. 2012;8(6):847-861. 

In This Article


Infective endocarditis remains a life-threatening condition with an unchanging incidence and mortality of nearly 30% at 1 year. Surgery is required in 25–50% of acute infections and 20–40% of patients during convalescence. Operative procedures are often technically challenging and high-risk, often due to coexistent multisystem disease. However, international guidelines provide clear indications for surgical intervention, which are applicable for the majority of patients. These are not, however, supported by particularly robust clinical evidence and decision-making often needs to be tailored to the advancing age of the overall patient cohort, the presence of multisystem disease, comorbidities, prior antibiotic therapy of varying duration and the availability of surgical expertise. Native valve endocarditis will be the initial focus of this article, along with subgroups including prosthetic valve endocarditis. We present the treatment options for patients with infective endocarditis, evaluate the evidence-base that supports current clinical practice and attempt to provide an insight and subsequent recommendations for the timing of surgery.