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Repeated echocardiographic examinations of patients with suspected infective endocarditis


Objective: To study the diagnostic contribution of repeated transthoracic (TTE) and transoesophageal echocardiography (TOE) among patients with suspected infective endocarditis.

Methods: 262 patients with 266 episodes of suspected infective endocarditis were referred for TTE and TOE over three years in a 423 bed university cardiology hospital. Patients were a mean (SD) of 47.6 (17.9) years old. 139 (52.3%) episodes occurred in men and 127 (47.7%) in women. The diagnostic information obtained from repeated TTE and TOE examinations was evaluated relative to the diagnosis of endocarditis.

Results: TTE examinations were repeated in 192 (72.2%) and TOE examinations were repeated in 49 (18.4%) of 266 episodes. A mean of 2.4 TTE and 1.2 TOE examinations were performed for each episode of suspected endocarditis. The second and third TTEs added diagnostic information in 34 (26.7%) and the second and third TOEs added diagnostic information in 25 (19.7%) of 127 episodes with definite endocarditis. After the third TTE or TOE no additional diagnostic information was obtained.

Conclusions: The diagnostic contribution of repeated TTE or TOE for the diagnosis of endocarditis decreased as the number of repetitions increased. In this setting, the data do not substantiate more than three TTE or TOE examinations as an efficient strategy to increase the diagnostic yield for all but selected patients with suspected endocarditis.

  • endocarditis
  • echocardiography
  • diagnosis

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