Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

OBJECTIVES: Infective endocarditis (IE) is a severe complication in Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia (SAB) and recent guidelines from the BSAC recommend all patients undergo echocardiography. We assessed the use of echocardiography at a major tertiary referral centre and sought to identify those patients most likely to have positive findings. METHODS: We retrospectively evaluated all cases of SAB at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust between September 2006 and August 2011. RESULTS: Three-hundred-and-six out of 668 patients with SAB underwent cardiac imaging on average 9.8 ± 1.3 days from the first culture. Thirty-one patients (10.1%) had echocardiographic evidence of IE. Risk factors for observing evidence of IE on scanning included the presence of prosthetic heart valves (32% versus 4%, P < 0.001) or cardiac rhythm management (CRM) devices (16% versus 3%, P < 0.004). On excluding patients with prosthetic valves or CRM devices from the analysis, no patient with a line-related bacteraemia and only one patient (an intravenous drug user) with no/mild regurgitation on transthoracic echocardiography had echo evidence of IE. CONCLUSIONS: We propose that the use of scarce echocardiography resources could be prioritized. Patients with prosthetic heart valves or a CRM device should receive early cardiological input and transoesophageal echocardiography. In patients with a clearly defined line-related bacteraemia who do not have a prosthetic valve or CRM device or clinical features of IE, response to treatment could be closely monitored and imaging deferred. Patients without a line-related infection or prosthetic valve/device could receive a transthoracic echocardiogram as a screening tool.

Original publication




Journal article


J Antimicrob Chemother

Publication Date





444 - 449


Bacteremia, Echocardiography, Transesophageal, Endocarditis, Female, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Retrospective Studies, Staphylococcal Infections, Staphylococcus aureus, Tertiary Care Centers, United Kingdom