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Heart Surgery for Endocarditis

Surgical treatment of infective endocarditis is aimed at:

  • Removal of all infected tissue
  • Drainage of abscesses (collection of pus)
  • Repair of the heart tissue
  • Repair or replacement of the affected valve

Surgery for endocarditis is very specialized and demanding. It requires extensive experience and familiarity with different reconstructive methods including the use of homografts (human cadaver valves). Transesophageal echocardiograms (TEE) performed before, during and after surgery help to guide the surgeon and ensure valve function is optimal.

Debridement - removal of infected tissue. If the infection has affected only the valve leaflets (cusps), removal of the infected matter will be sufficient. However, if the infection has affected more of the valve or into the heart tissue, then debridement will require a more technically difficult approach.

Valve reconstruction - depending on the specific surgical case, the surgeon will repair the valve or replace the valve with a new valve (valve prosthesis). The prosthesis may be biological, mechanical or a homograft. The homograft has proven to be particularly effective in cases with severe aortic valve endocarditis.

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