Research Article| Volume 78, ISSUE 2, P175-182, April 2001

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Infective endocarditis in children — incidence, pattern, diagnosis and management in a developing country


      Background: In developing countries, patients with infective endocarditis are referred late, there is low yield of blood cultures and incidence of rheumatic heart disease is still high. Objective: Evaluate clinical pattern, assess diagnostic criteria in our settings and determine outcome. Setting: A tertiary referral center for paediatric and adult cardiology. Patients and methods: All children with infective endocarditis admitted to a single center from April 1997 to March 2000 were analysed. The diagnosis was based on Duke’s criteria, which proposed two major and six minor criteria. Minor criteria were expanded to include raised acute phase reactants and presence of newly diagnosed or increasing splenomegally. The patients were stratified as definite, possible and rejected cases. Results: Of 1402 hospital admissions, 45 patients fulfilled the diagnostic criteria for infective endocarditis giving an incidence of 32 per 1000 hospital admissions. The mean age was 7.9±4 years (4 months to 16 years) with only two patients under 1 year of age. Rheumatic heart disease was the underlying lesion in 24 patients (53%) while congenital heart lesions occurred in 20 patients (45%). Previous antibiotic treatment was given in 26 patients (58%) definitely. Blood cultures were positive in 21 patients (47%); Streptococcus Viridans being the most common organism, while vegetations on echocardiography were present in 32 patients (71%). Surgery was undertaken in four patients and five patients left against medical advise. Of 10 patients with aortic valve involvement, there were three deaths (30%) and overall mortality was 13% (six patients). Conclusions: The incidence of infective endocarditis is 32 per 1000 (3.2%) hospital admissions in a tertiary paediatric cardiology referral center. Rheumatic heart disease is still the most common underlying heart lesion. Blood cultures are positive in less than 50% of cases and echocardiography in expert hands is a more sensitive tool in our set up. Mortality is still high and aortic valve involvement in particular, carried poor prognosis.


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