Clinical Significance of a 16S-rDNA Analysis of Heart Valves in Patients with Infective Endocarditis: a Retrospective Study

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A substantial proportion of patients with infective endocarditis (IE) are subjected to heart valve surgery. Microbiological findings on valves are important both for diagnostics and for tailored antibiotic therapy, post-operatively. The aims of this study were to describe microbiological findings on surgically removed valves and to examine the diagnostic benefits of 16S-rDNA PCR and sequencing (16S-analysis). Adult patients who were subjected to heart valve surgery for IE between 2012 and 2021 at Skåne University Hospital, Lund, where a 16S-analysis had been performed on the valve, constituted the study population. Data were gathered from medical records, and the results from blood cultures, valve cultures, and 16S-analyses of valves were compared. A diagnostic benefit was defined as providing an agent in blood culture negative endocarditis, providing a new agent in episodes with positive blood cultures, or confirming one of the findings in episodes with a discrepancy between blood and valve cultures. 279 episodes in 272 patients were included in the final analysis. Blood cultures were positive in 259 episodes (94%), valve cultures in 60 episodes (22%), and 16S-analyses in 227 episodes (81%). Concordance between the blood cultures and the 16S-analysis was found in 214 episodes (77%). The 16S-analyses provided a diagnostic benefit in 25 (9.0%) of the episodes. In blood culture negative endocarditis, the 16S-analyses had a diagnostic benefit in 15 (75%) of the episodes. A 16S-analysis should be routinely performed on surgically removed valves in blood culture negative endocarditis. In patients with positive blood cultures, 16S-analysis may also be considered, as a diagnostic benefit was provided in some patients.

IMPORTANCE This work demonstrates that it can be of importance to perform both cultures and analysis using 16S-rDNA PCR and sequencing of valves excised from patients undergoing surgery for infective endocarditis. 16S-analysis may help both to establish a microbiological etiology in cases of blood culture negative endocarditis and to provide help in situations where there are discrepancies between valve and blood cultures. In addition, our results show a high degree of concordance between blood cultures and 16S-analyses, indicating that the latter has a high sensitivity and specificity for the etiological diagnosis of endocarditis in patients who were subjected to heart valve surgery.

TidskriftMicrobiology spectrum
Tidigt onlinedatum2023 maj 17
StatusPublished - 2023 juni 15

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ)

  • Klinisk laboratoriemedicin
  • Infektionsmedicin
  • Kardiologi


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