Aorto-cavitary fistulous tract formation in infective endocarditis: clinical and echocardiographic features of 76 cases and risk factors for mortality.

Journal Article (Journal Article;Multicenter Study)

AIMS: To investigate the clinical features, echocardiographic characteristics, management, and prognostic factors of mortality of aorto-cavitary fistulization (ACF) in infective endocarditis (IE). Extension of infection in aortic valve IE beyond valvular structures may result in peri-annular complications with resulting necrosis and rupture, and subsequent development of ACF. Aorto-cavitary communications create intra-cardiac shunts, which may result in further clinical deterioration and haemodynamic instability. METHODS AND RESULTS: In a retrospective multi-centre study over 4681 episodes of IE, a total of 76 patients with ACF [1.6%, confidence interval (CI) 95%: 1.2-2.0%] diagnosed by echocardiography or during surgery were identified. Fistulae were found in 1.8% of cases of native valve IE and in 3.5% of cases of prosthetic valve IE from the general population and in 0.4% of drug abusers. PVE was present in 31 (41%) cases of ACF. Transthoracic and transoesophageal echocardiography detected the fistulous tracts in 53 and 97% of cases, respectively. Peri-annular abscesses were detected in 78% of cases, fistulae originated in similar rates from the three sinuses of Valsalva, and the four cardiac chambers were equally involved in the fistulous tracts. Heart failure (HF) developed in 62% of cases and surgery was performed in 66 (87% CI 95% 77-93%) patients with a mortality of 41% (95% CI 30-53%) in the overall population. Multivariate analysis identified HF (OR 3.4, CI 95% 1.0-11.5), prosthetic IE (OR 4.6, CI 95% 1.4-15.4) and urgent or emergency surgical treatment (OR 4.3, CI 95% 1.3-16.6) as variables significantly associated with an increased risk of death. Major complications during follow-up (death, re-operation, or re-admission for HF) among the five operative survivors with residual fistulae occurred in 20 and 100% of patients at 1 and 2 years, respectively. CONCLUSION: Aorto-cavitary fistulous tract formation is an uncommon but extremely serious complication of IE. In-hospital mortality was exceptionally high despite aggressive management with surgical intervention in the majority of patients. Prosthetic IE, urgent surgery, and the development of HF identify the subgroup of patients with IE and ACF that have significantly increased risk of in-hospital death.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Anguera, I; Miro, JM; Vilacosta, I; Almirante, B; Anguita, M; Muñoz, P; San Roman, JA; de Alarcon, A; Ripoll, T; Navas, E; Gonzalez-Juanatey, C; Cabell, CH; Sarria, C; Garcia-Bolao, I; Fariñas, MC; Leta, R; Rufi, G; Miralles, F; Pare, C; Evangelista, A; Fowler, VG; Mestres, CA; de Lazzari, E; Guma, JR; Aorto-cavitary Fistula in Endocarditis Working Group,

Published Date

  • February 2005

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 26 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 288 - 297

PubMed ID

  • 15618052

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0195-668X

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1093/eurheartj/ehi034


  • eng

Conference Location

  • England