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Complications and outcome of infective endocarditis

Denis Spelman, MBBS, FRACP, FRCPA, MPH
Section Editors
Stephen B Calderwood, MD
Gabriel S Aldea, MD
Scott E Kasner, MD
Ann Bolger, MD, FACC, FAHA
Deputy Editors
Elinor L Baron, MD, DTMH
Susan B Yeon, MD, JD, FACC


Infective endocarditis (IE) is associated with a broad array of complications. The likelihood of complication(s) depends on several factors including the infecting pathogen, duration of illness prior to therapy, and underlying comorbidities [1]. Complications can occur before, during, and after completion of therapy.

It can be difficult to assess the true incidence of complications since case series are frequently retrospective. In one review including 223 episodes of IE, 57 percent of patients had one complication, 26 percent had two, 8 percent had three or more, and 6 percent had six or more complications [2].

Issues related to complications and outcome of IE will be reviewed here. Indications for surgery and timing of surgery in patients with complications of IE are discussed further separately. (See "Surgery for left-sided native valve infective endocarditis" and "Surgery for prosthetic valve endocarditis".)

Other issues related to IE are discussed separately. (See related topics.)


Complications of infective endocarditis (IE) include cardiac, neurologic, renal, musculoskeletal, and pulmonary complications as well as complications related to systemic infection (including embolization, metastatic infection, and mycotic aneurysm). More than one complication can occur simultaneously.

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Jul 21, 2017.
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