Pneumococcal endocarditis: Report of a series and review of the literature

William G. Powderly, Samuel L. Stanley

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Pneumococcal endocarditis has declined sharply in incidence since the advent of penicillin but remains a potentially lethal infection. From 1980 to 1984, pneumococcal endocarditis was diagnosed in seven patients-four adults and three infants. Apart from one patient who had had a splenectomy, there were no recognizable predisposing factors to infection due to Streptococcus pneumoniae, although all three children were younger than 15 months of age. Congenital heart disease was present in two patients, calcific aortic disease in one, and mitral valve prolapse in a fourth. The remaining three patients had previously normal hearts. Meningitis occurred in five (71%) of the seven patients. Five patients were cured of their infection: four by medical therapy alone (penicillin or vancomycin), and a fifth, by medical therapy plus valvular debridement. Two patients died: one with intractable heart failure, and the second, from the complications of cardiac surgery. Penicillin alone is effective therapy for pneumococcal endocarditis. Patients unable to tolerate penicillin may be treated with vancomycin.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)786-791
Number of pages6
JournalReviews of infectious diseases
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1986


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