Staphylococcus aureus bacteremia and endocarditis.
Staphylococcus aureus is a leading cause of bacteremia and endocarditis. Over the past several years, the frequency of S. aureus bacteremia (SAB) has increased dramatically. This increasing frequency, coupled with increasing rates of antibiotic resistance, has renewed interest in this serious, common infection. S. aureus is a unique pathogen because of its virulent properties, its protean manifestations, and its ability to cause endocarditis on architecturally normal cardiac valves. Although the possibility of underlying endocarditis arises in virtually every patient with SAB, only a minority of bacteremic patients will actually have cardiac involvement. Distinguishing patients with S. aureus infective endocarditis (IE) from those with uncomplicated SAB is essential, but often difficult. In this review, the authors summarize recent changes in the epidemiology of SAB and IE, discuss the challenges in distinguishing SAB from IE, and discuss current trends in the management of patients with SAB and IE.
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