• Infective valvular endocarditis, whether occurring on a native or prosthetic heart valve, continues to carry a serious prognosis. Death is usually due to congestive heart failure, arrhythmia, or embolic complications, rather than infection per se. While antimicrobial therapy and medications to control congestive heart failure continue to be the treatment of choice in most cases, early valve replacement is indicated in certain situations. During the past four years, 12 patients underwent valve replacement for infective endocarditis. Six patients underwent elective valve replacement after antibiotic or antifungal therapy. All survived the operation and were improved. Six other patients underwent emergency valve replacement. Two patients died intraoperatively and their operations, in retrospect, were delayed unnecessarily. Four patients survived and are improved. Prosthetic valve replacement during the course of infective valvular endocarditis should be considered based on indications such as congestive heart failure, rhythm disturbances, etc, rather than the status of the infection.
(Arch Surg 111:707-710, 1976)