Endocarditis and Cardiovascular Infections
Infective endocarditis is a life-threatening infection of the endocardial lining of the heart. It is usually caused by bacteria, mostly gram-positive cocci, and primarily involves heart valves, although it may also occur on non-valvular endocardial structures and/or mechanical devices implanted in the heart such as artificial heart valves, pacemakers, or implantable defibrillators.
Infective endocarditis is uncommon disease but due to its protean clinical manifestations diagnostic delays or missed diagnoses are possible. It affects about 5 – 10 persons every 100,000 each year. It is traditionally classified into acute or subacute based on the duration of symptoms/signs before diagnosis, but whenever missed it usually leads to death. In some cases, despite appropriate antimicrobial therapy and timely cardiac surgery, infective endocarditis may cause serious complications, such as stroke, acute heart failure or kidney injury, and may result into prolonged hospitalization and even death. The most deadly cause of infective endocarditis is Staphylococcus aureus, but newer serious agents are emerging in the context of rising antimicrobial resistance.
With the progress of cardiovascular medicine and the increasing rates of implantation of increasingly more complex devices and prostheses, the field of Cardiovascular Infections currently extends to bacterial and fungal disease involving cardiac implantable electronic devices, vascular prostheses, vascular access devices and mechanical circulatory support devices. This extends the interest of Cardiovascular Infectious Disease to heart transplant infections and infections of persons undergoing cardiac surgery. Finally, our field also embraces infections involving other heart structures, including the myocardium and the pericardium.
Overall, our community is made of infectious disease physicians and scientists as well as cardiologists, cardiac surgeons, vascular surgeons and microbiologists sharing passion and scientific interest for Endocarditis and Cardiovascular Infections.