Neurological complications are associated with poor outcome in patients with infective endocarditis (IE). Although guidelines recommend systematic brain imaging in the evaluation of IE patients, the association between early brain imaging findings and outcomes has never been evaluated in critically ill patients. We aimed to assess the association of CT-defined neurological complications with functional outcomes of critically ill IE patients.
This retrospective cohort study included consecutive patients with severe, left-sided IE hospitalized in the medical ICU of a tertiary care hospital. Patients with no baseline brain CT were excluded. Baseline CT-scans were classified in five mutually exclusive categories (normal, moderate-to-severe ischemic stroke, minor ischemic stroke, intracranial hemorrhage, other abnormal CT). The primary endpoint was 1-year favorable outcome, defined by a modified Rankin Scale score of 0-3.
Between 06/01/2011 and 07/31/2018, 156 patients were included. Among them, 87/156 (56%) had a CT-defined neurological complication, including moderate-to-severe ischemic stroke (n = 33/156, 21%), intracranial hemorrhage (n = 24/156, 15%), minor ischemic stroke (n = 29/156, 19%), other (n = 3/156, 2%). At one year, 69 (45%) patients had a favorable outcome. Factors negatively associated with favorable outcome in multivariable analysis were moderate-to-severe ischemic stroke (OR 0.37, 95%CI 0.14 – 0.95) and age (OR 0.94, 95%CI 0.91-0.97). By contrast, the score on the Glasgow Coma Scale was positively associated with favorable outcome (per 1-point increment, OR 1.23, 95%CI 1.08-1.42). Sensitivity analyses conducted in operated patients revealed similar findings. Compared to normal CT, only moderate-to-severe ischemic stroke was associated with more frequent post-operative neurological complications (n = 8/23 (35%) vs n = 1/46 (2%), p < 0.01).
Moderate-to-severe ischemic stroke had an independent negative impact on 1-year functional outcome in critically ill IE patients; whereas other complications, including intracranial hemorrhage, had no such impact.

© 2022. The Author(s).