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Diagnostic accuracy of splinter haemorrhages in patients referred for suspected infective endocarditis
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  • Published on:
    A caveat for splinter haemorrhages

    A caveat is required to qualify the assertion that splinter hemorrhages are an insensitive marker for infective endocarditis(IE)[1]. The caveat is that silent infective endocarditis, where murmurs are absent, may have splinter haemorrhages as the sole mucocutaneous feature of IE[2],[3],[4]].
    In the first patient, splinter who had been admitted with intracranial embolism, haemorrhages were documented on "day 2" of hospital admission, and it was their presence which prompted the performance of echocardiography. That investigation disclosed the presence of a mobile mass in the left ventricle, even though no murmurs were elicited[. It was only on day 11 that a murmur was elicited. Repeat echocardiography disclosed a vegetation on the mitral valve [2].
    In the second patient, admitted with stroke, for which he was prescribed thrombolytic therapy, echocardiography antedated the discovery of splinter haemorrhages. That investigation was nondiagnostic, but the diagnosis of IE was subsequently made at autopsy following his death from thrombolysis-related intracranial haemorrhage[3].
    The third patient had an afebrile presentation characterised by ST segment elevation myocardial infarction(STEMI), the latter attributable to coronary embolism). Finger clubbing and splinter haemorrhages were present even though no murmurs were elicited. The presence of splinter haemorrhages prompted the initiation of echocardigraphy. That investigation...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.