Infective endocarditis (IE) in patients with a valve-tube ascending aortic graft (AAG) is a rare entity with a challenging diagnosis and treatment. This study describes the clinical features, diagnosis and outcome of these patients.
Between 1996 and 2019, 1654 episodes of IE were recruited in 3 centres, of which 37 patients (2.2%) had prosthetic aortic valve and AAG-IE (21 composite valve graft, 16 supracoronary graft) and conformed our study group.
Patients with aortic grafts were predominantly male (91.9%) and the mean age was 67.7 years. Staphylococci were the most frequently isolated microorganisms (32%). Viridans group streptococci were only isolated in patients with composite valve graft. TEE was positive in 89.2%. PET/CT was positive in all 15 patients in whom it was performed. Surgical treatment was performed in 62.2% of patients. In-hospital mortality was 16.2%. Heart failure and the type of infected graft (supracoronary aortic graft) were associated with mortality. Mortality among operated patients was 21.7%. Interestingly, 14 patients received antibiotic therapy alone, and only one died. Mortality was lower among patients with a composite valve graft compared to those with a supracoronary graft (4.8% vs 31.3%; p = 0.03).
In patients with AAG and prosthetic aortic valve IE, mortality is not higher than in other patients with prosthetic IE. Multimodality imaging plays an important role in the diagnosis and management of these patients. Heart failure and the type of surgery were risk factors associated with in-hospital mortality. Although surgical treatment is usually recommended, a conservative management might be a valid alternative treatment in selected patients.