Background. Operation for active infective endocarditis carries high mortality and morbidity rates, especially when the annulus is involved. Overall the literature favors the use of autograft and homograft valves because of better resistance to infection. In our clinic during the last 5 years we used an aggressive surgical approach to infective endocarditis in combination with implantation of mechanical or stented bioprosthetic devices. Methods. From 1994 to 1999, 50 adults with aortic and/or mitral valve endocarditis underwent valve replacement. The median age of the 36 men and 14 women was 58 years (range, 17 to 78 years). All patients had active endocarditis at the time of operation. Native valve endocarditis was present in 48 patients and prosthetic valve endocarditis was present in 2 patients. The aortic valve was affected in 24 patients, the mitral valve in 21 patients, and both the aortic and mitral valves in 5 patients. Two of the patients with mitral endocarditis also had infection of the tricuspid valve. Annular destruction was present in 24 patients (48%). The patients were treated with radical excision of all infected tissue. The annular defects were closed, if possible, with direct sutures. Otherwise, a reconstruction was performed. Follow-up was 100% complete with a median follow-up period of 45 months (range, 6 to 66 months). Results. The procedures were performed without lethal bleeding complications. Early mortality was 12% and the actuarial survival at follow-up was 80%. In none of the patients who died was death related to the prosthetic valve or recurrence of the endocarditis. Only 1 patient (2%) developed recurrence of the infective endocarditis and was reoperated with a Ross procedure. Three and a half years later the patient developed severe valve insufficiency of the autograft and was operated again with implantation of a mechanical device. Conclusions. Native and prosthetic valve endocarditis can be treated successfully with aggressive surgical debridement and implantation of mechanical or stented bioprosthetic devices with a low risk of recurrent endocarditis. © 2001 by The Society of Thoracic Surgeons.
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