Infective endocarditis (IE) is a rare but potentially devastating clinical entity with a well-delineated pathogenesis. While previously thought to be a disorder of younger individuals, older adults now represent one of the highest risk groups for the acquisition of and adverse outcomes related to IE. Prior to focusing on the updated recommendations for IE prophylaxis and the rationale behind them, we briefly review the clinical aspects of IE in the general population, as well as special considerations for older adults.
Key words: endocarditis, prophylaxis, older adults, cardiovascular disease, antibiotics.
Christopher B. Johnson, MD, FRCPC, University of Ottawa Heart Institute, Ottawa, ON.
Older patients have a high prevalence of heart valve disease and prosthetic heart valves, and are therefore at particularly high risk for endocarditis. Streptococcus viridans and Staphylococcus aureus are the most common pathogens in older patients with endocarditis. While antibiotics may cure endocarditis, surgery is required on occasion to treat complications of endocarditis such as heart failure due to valvular regurgitation, systemic and cerebral emboli, and persistent bacteremia. Endocarditis can be accurately diagnosed in aging patients using clinical, microbiological, and echocardiographic criteria. Early diagnosis and prompt institution of antibiotic therapy can result in excellent outcome among older patients with endocarditis.
Key words: endocarditis, older adults, echo, heart valve, bacteria.
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