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Impact of septic cerebral embolism on prognosis and therapeutic strategies of infective endocarditis: a retrospective study in a surgical centre

  • Scheggi, Valentina
  • Menale, Silvia
  • Tonietti, Barbara
  • Bigiarini, Costanza
  • Giovacchini, Jacopo
  • Del Pace, Stefano
  • Zoppetti, Nicola
  • Alterini, Bruno
  • Stefàno, Pier Luigi
  • Marchionni, Niccolò
Published Article
BMC Infectious Diseases
Springer (Biomed Central Ltd.)
Publication Date
Jun 17, 2022
DOI: 10.1186/s12879-022-07533-w
PMID: 35715766
PMCID: PMC9206378
PubMed Central
  • Research


Background Infective endocarditis still has high mortality and invalidating complications, such as cerebral embolism. The best strategies to prevent and manage neurologic complications remain uncertain. This study aimed to identify predictors of cerebral septic embolism and evaluate the role of surgery in these patients in a real-world surgical centre. Methods We retrospectively analyzed 551 consecutive patients admitted to our department with a definite diagnosis of non-device-related infective endocarditis; of these, 126 (23%) presented a neurologic complication. Results Cerebral embolism was significantly more frequent in patients with large vegetations (p = 0.004), mitral valve infection (p = 0.001), and Staphylococcus aureus infection (p = 0.025). At multivariable analysis, only vegetation length was an independent predictor of cerebral embolism (HR per unit 1.057, 95% CI 1.025–1.091, p 0.001), with a best predictive threshold of 10 mm at ROC curve analysis (AUC 0.54, p = 0.001). Patients with neurologic complications were more often excluded from surgery despite an indication to it (16% vs 8%, p = 0.001). If eligible, they were treated within two weeks from diagnosis in similar proportions as patients without cerebral embolism with a similar survival rate. Predictors of mortality were hemorrhagic lesions (p = 0.018), a GCS < 14 (p = 0.001) or a severe degree of disability (p = 0.001) at presentation. The latter was the only independent predictor of mortality at multivariable analysis (HR 2.3, 95% CI 1.43–3.80, p = 0.001). Conclusions The present study highlights the prognostic value of functional presentation and the safety of cardiac surgery, when feasible, in patients with cerebral septic embolism.

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