Pediatric Bacterial Endocarditis Treatment & Management

  • Author: Michael H Gewitz, MD; Chief Editor: P Syamasundar Rao, MD  more...
 
Updated: Mar 31, 2016
 

Approach Considerations

Bacterial endocarditis is a disease in which complete eradication of the organism is required. Bacteria involved in endocarditis are relatively protected from phagocytic activity by the vegetation, which contains high concentrations of bacteria with relatively low metabolic rates. Prolonged parenteral therapy is the only way to achieve bactericidal serum levels for the time needed to kill all the bacteria present in a vegetation of endocarditis. Treatment generally ranges from 4-8 weeks.[1, 9]

The following principles of management of infective endocarditis are worth considering:

  • Selection of the antibiotic agents is based on the sensitivity of the offending organism to antibiotics
  • Bactericidal rather than bacteriostatic antibiotics are preferable
  • Intermittent intravenous antibiotic administration to achieve high concentration of the antibiotic is recommended; a bactericidal level of 1:8 or greater should be achieved
  • Prolonged (4-8 weeks) treatment to ensure eradication of the organism is generally required
  • Documentation of cessation of bacteremia prior to discontinuation of antibiotics is suggested
  • Surgery may be necessary in some cases as detailed below.

Go to Infective Endocarditis for more complete information on this topic.

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Medical Care in Pediatric Bacterial Endocarditis

Therapy is tailored according to the etiologic agent.[10] Because of the high risk for morbidity and mortality associated with bacterial endocarditis, individual therapy should be discussed between all consultants with the available antibiotic sensitivity testing carefully reviewed.

Penicillin-susceptible streptococcal endocarditis (PSSE) on native cardiac valves is treated with penicillin G for 4 weeks or penicillin or ceftriaxone combined with gentamicin for 2 weeks. Penicillin-resistant streptococcal endocarditis (PRSE) on native cardiac valves is treated with penicillin, ampicillin, or ceftriaxone for 4 weeks, combined with gentamicin for the first 2 weeks.

PSSE on a prosthetic valve or other prosthetic material should be treated with penicillin, ampicillin, or ceftriaxone for 6 weeks, combined with gentamicin for the first 2 weeks. PRSE on a prosthetic valve or other prosthetic material is treated with penicillin, ampicillin, or ceftriaxone for 6 weeks, combined with gentamicin. Vancomycin can be used in patients who cannot tolerate penicillin or ceftriaxone. The duration of penicillin-resistant therapy for streptococcal endocarditis on a prosthetic valve is 6 weeks.

Susceptible enterococcal infection on native valves is treated with penicillin or ampicillin, combined with gentamicin, for 4-6 weeks. Infection on prosthetic material should be treated for at least 6 weeks.

Methicillin-susceptible S aureus (MSSA) infection on native valves is treated with nafcillin or oxacillin for at least 6 weeks. The addition of gentamicin for 3-5 days is optional. Methicillin-resistant S aureus (MRSA) infection on native valves is treated with vancomycin for at least 6 weeks, with or without 3-5 days of gentamicin.

MSSA infection on prosthetic tissue is treated with nafcillin or oxacillin plus rifampin for at least 6 weeks, in combination with gentamicin for 2 weeks. MRSA infection on prosthetic tissue is treated with vancomycin plus rifampin for at least 6 weeks, in combination with gentamicin for 2 weeks.

Gram-negative endocarditis caused by HACEK organisms is treated with ceftriaxone or ampicillin plus gentamicin for 4 weeks.

The 2015 American Heart Association (AHA) update on infective endocarditis includes dosing and monitoring recommendations for vancomycin, aminoglycosides, and β-lactams.[11] These appear to be based primarily on expert opinion and did not consider currently available evidence on pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic principles, particularly in pediatric patients.[12]  These authors[12] are concerned that the practitioners may hesitate to deviate from AHA guidelines; therefore, they suggest improvement in the recommended doses in the AHA statement, review of evidence in support of optimization of antibiotic doses, and recommend the addition of a pediatric clinical pharmacist to the therapeutic team.

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Surgical Care in Pediatric Bacterial Endocarditis

Absolute indications for surgery include progressive cardiac failure, worsening valve obstruction or regurgitation, definitive perivalvular abscess, noncandidal fungal infection, and pseudomonal infection. Relative indications include persistent bacteremia despite appropriate antibiotic therapy, candidal endocarditis, and vegetations larger than 10 mm.

Surgery should be performed without delay in patients with severe CHF secondary to valvular regurgitation. Surgery for patients who have had a recent neurologic injury should be evaluated and possibly delayed to make modifications to avoid intracranial hemorrhage.

Russell et al studied 34 patients with infective endocarditis who underwent surgical intervention over a 21-year period. They found the Ross operation to be effective in patients with aortic valve endocarditis. However, the incidence of reoperation for valve and conduit replacement because of somatic growth was significant. Children younger than one year had a greater risk for death, but patients surviving to hospital discharge had good results with no recurrence.[5]

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Dietary Considerations

No specific dietary restrictions are recommended in the literature for the patient with bacterial endocarditis.

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Activity

Patients may be as active as they can tolerate. Patients may be ill and should remain hospitalized until they are hemodynamically stable, afebrile, with negative blood cultures, and not at high risk for complications.

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Additional Inpatient Care in Pediatric Bacterial Endocarditis

Further inpatient care in patients with bacterial endocarditis is mostly supportive.

Hemodynamic and ventilatory support may be required for critically ill children.

Physical and occupational therapy is given to patients who are hospitalized for a long period.

Important aspects of care include the treatment of complications, such as CHF, neurologic injury, and splenic abscess.

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Outpatient Care in Pediatric Bacterial Endocarditis

With the advent of home health facilities, more patients can complete parenteral antimicrobial therapy as outpatients after the initial acute infection is controlled.

After initial diagnosis and therapy in the hospital, patients in whom outpatient therapy is being considered must be hemodynamically stable and afebrile, must have negative blood cultures, and must be at low risk for complications.

Follow-up for monitoring of adherence to drug therapy and possible complications is essential.

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Transfer

Depending on their initial clinical presentation, patients may first be monitored in the intensive care unit (ICU) and then transferred to an inpatient ward when the clinical condition has stabilized and a response to treatment is evident.

Patients at high risk for developing complications from endocarditis may require transfer to a tertiary care center where pediatric cardiothoracic surgery is available.

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Prevention of Pediatric Bacterial Endocarditis

Prevention of bacterial endocarditis with antimicrobial prophylaxis in high-risk children is key to their long-term survival and quality of life.[13]

Guidelines suggest that the following patients are at the highest risk and therefore should receive antibiotic prophylaxis prior to dental procedures involving manipulation of gingival tissue, the periapical region of the teeth, or the perforation of oral mucosa:

  • Patients with a prosthetic heart valve or with prosthetic material used for valve repair
  • Patients with previous endocarditis
  • Patients with significant valvular disease who have undergone cardiac transplantation
  • Patients with congenital heart disease

Patients in the fourth bullet point, above, include (1) persons with unrepaired or palliated cyanotic heart disease, (2) those with repaired heart disease with prosthetic material for the first 6 months postoperatively, and (3) those with repaired heart disease with residual significant lesion at the site of prosthetic material.

Antibiotic prophylaxis options for these highest-risk patients, when undergoing dental procedures, include the following:

  • Amoxicillin at 50 mg/kg orally 30-60 minutes before the procedure
  • In patients who are unable to take oral ampicillin, IV amoxicillin at 50 mg/kg or cefazolin or ceftriaxone 50 mg/kg intravenously or intramuscularly 30-60 minutes before the procedure
  • In patients with a penicillin allergy, cephalexin at 50 mg/kg orally; clindamycin at 20 mg/kg orally, intravenously, or intramuscularly; azithromycin at 15 mg/kg orally; or cefazolin or ceftriaxone at 50 mg/kg intravenously or intramuscularly

One recent study has evaluated the impact of the 2008 National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines that recommended the cessation of all antibiotic prophylaxis in the United Kingdom, even going farther than the 2007 American Heart Association guidelines in ommitting antibiotic prohylaxis for all patients under all circumstances. Although the results found no change in the trend of IE case development in the United Kingdom since the new guidelines and thus supported them, ongoing studies and clinical trials would still be useful to confirm whether antibiotic prophylaxis has any role in protecting some patients, particularly those at highest risk of complications from infective endocarditis.[14]

The AHA no longer recommends endocarditis prophylaxis for other nondental procedures, such as respiratory procedures (except for procedures in high-risk patients that involve incision of the mucosa, such as tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy), GI procedures, or genitourinary procedures.

Go to Antibiotic Prophylactic Regimens for Endocarditis for more complete information on this topic.

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Consultations

Initial consultants for the patient suspected of having bacterial endocarditis should include an infectious disease specialist, a cardiologist, and often a cardiac surgeon.

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Contributor Information and Disclosures
Author

Michael H Gewitz, MD Physician-in-Chief, Chief, Section of Pediatric Cardiology, Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital at Westchester Medical Center; Professor and Vice Chairman, Department of Pediatrics, New York Medical College

Michael H Gewitz, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Cardiology, American Association for Physician Leadership, American Heart Association, American Pediatric Society, American Society of Echocardiography, New York Academy of Medicine, New York Academy of Sciences, Royal Society of Medicine, Society of Pediatric Echocardiography

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Coauthor(s)

Brian Keith Eble, MD Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Section of Cardiology, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Arkansas Children's Hospital

Brian Keith Eble, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Cardiology, American Heart Association, Arkansas Medical Society, Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Specialty Editor Board

Mary L Windle, PharmD Adjunct Associate Professor, University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy; Editor-in-Chief, Medscape Drug Reference

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Julian M Stewart, MD, PhD Associate Chairman of Pediatrics, Director, Center for Hypotension, Westchester Medical Center; Professor of Pediatrics and Physiology, New York Medical College

Julian M Stewart, MD, PhD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Pediatrics, American Autonomic Society, American Physiological Society

Disclosure: Received grant/research funds from Lundbeck Pharmaceuticals for none.

Chief Editor

P Syamasundar Rao, MD Professor of Pediatrics and Medicine, Division of Cardiology, Emeritus Chief of Pediatric Cardiology, University of Texas Medical School at Houston and Children's Memorial Hermann Hospital

P Syamasundar Rao, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Pediatrics, American Pediatric Society, American College of Cardiology, American Heart Association, Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions, Society for Pediatric Research

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Additional Contributors

Jeffrey Allen Towbin, MD, MSc FAAP, FACC, FAHA, Professor, Departments of Pediatrics (Cardiology), Cardiovascular Sciences, and Molecular and Human Genetics, Baylor College of Medicine; Chief of Pediatric Cardiology, Foundation Chair in Pediatric Cardiac Research, Texas Children's Hospital

Jeffrey Allen Towbin, MD, MSc is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Pediatrics, American Association for the Advancement of Science, American College of Cardiology, American College of Sports Medicine, American Heart Association, American Medical Association, American Society of Human Genetics, New York Academy of Sciences, Society for Pediatric Research, Texas Medical Association, Texas Pediatric Society, Cardiac Electrophysiology Society

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Acknowledgements

The authors and editors of eMedicine gratefully acknowledge the contributions of previous authors Gerardo Reyes, MD, and Dwight Bailey, MD, to the development and writing of the source article.

References
  1. Baddour LM, Wilson WR, Bayer AS, Fowler VG Jr, Bolger AF, Levison ME, et al. Infective endocarditis: diagnosis, antimicrobial therapy, and management of complications: a statement for healthcare professionals from the Committee on Rheumatic Fever, Endocarditis, and Kawasaki Disease, Council on Cardiovascular Disease in the Young, and the Councils on Clinical Cardiology, Stroke, and Cardiovascular Surgery and Anesthesia, American Heart Association: endorsed by the Infectious Diseases Society of America. Circulation. 2005 Jun 14. 111(23):e394-434. [Medline].

  2. Pasquali SK, He X, Mohamad Z, McCrindle BW, Newburger JW, Li JS, et al. Trends in endocarditis hospitalizations at US children's hospitals: impact of the 2007 American Heart Association Antibiotic Prophylaxis Guidelines. Am Heart J. 2012 May. 163(5):894-9. [Medline]. [Full Text].

  3. Johnson JA, Boyce TG, Cetta F, Steckelberg JM, Johnson JN. Infective endocarditis in the pediatric patient: a 60-year single-institution review. Mayo Clin Proc. 2012 Jul. 87(7):629-35. [Medline]. [Full Text].

  4. Ware AL, Tani LY, Weng HY, Wilkes J, Menon SC. Resource utilization and outcomes of infective endocarditis in children. J Pediatr. 2014 Oct. 165 (4):807-12.e1. [Medline].

  5. Russell HM, Johnson SL, Wurlitzer KC, Backer CL. Outcomes of surgical therapy for infective endocarditis in a pediatric population: a 21-year review. Ann Thorac Surg. 2013 Jul. 96(1):171-4: discussion 174-5. [Medline].

  6. Wilson W, Taubert KA, Gewitz M, Lockhart PB, Baddour LM, Levison M, et al. Prevention of infective endocarditis: guidelines from the American Heart Association: a guideline from the American Heart Association Rheumatic Fever, Endocarditis, and Kawasaki Disease Committee, Council on Cardiovascular Disease in the Young, and the Council on Clinical Cardiology, Council on Cardiovascular Surgery and Anesthesia, and the Quality of Care and Outcomes Research Interdisciplinary Working Group. Circulation. 2007 Oct 9. 116(15):1736-54. [Medline].

  7. Martin JM, Neches WH, Wald ER. Infective endocarditis: 35 years of experience at a children's hospital. Clin Infect Dis. 1997 Apr. 24 (4):669-75. [Medline].

  8. Li JS, Sexton DJ, Mick N, Nettles R, Fowler VG Jr, Ryan T, et al. Proposed modifications to the Duke criteria for the diagnosis of infective endocarditis. Clin Infect Dis. 2000 Apr. 30(4):633-8. [Medline].

  9. Habib G. Management of infective endocarditis. Heart. 2006 Jan. 92(1):124-30. [Medline]. [Full Text].

  10. Gerber MA, Baltimore RS, Eaton CB, Gewitz M, Rowley AH, Shulman ST, et al. Prevention of rheumatic fever and diagnosis and treatment of acute Streptococcal pharyngitis: a scientific statement from the American Heart Association Rheumatic Fever, Endocarditis, and Kawasaki Disease Committee of the Council on Cardiovascular Disease in the Young, the Interdisciplinary Council on Functional Genomics and Translational Biology, and the Interdisciplinary Council on Quality of Care and Outcomes Research: endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Circulation. 2009 Mar 24. 119(11):1541-51. [Medline].

  11. Baltimore RS, Gewitz M, Baddour LM, et al, for the American Heart Association Rheumatic Fever, Endocarditis, et al. infective endocarditis in childhood: 2015 update: a scientific statement from the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2015 Oct 13. 132 (15):1487-515. [Medline].

  12. Nichols KR, Israel EN, Thomas CA, Knoderer CA. Optimizing guideline-recommended antibiotic doses for pediatric infective endocarditis. Ann Pharmacother. 2016 Feb 25. [Medline].

  13. Patel J, Kupferman F, Rapaport S, Kern JH. Preprocedure prophylaxis against endocarditis among United States pediatric cardiologists. Pediatr Cardiol. 2014 Oct. 35 (7):1220-4. [Medline].

  14. Thornhill MH, Dayer MJ, Forde JM, et al. Impact of the NICE guideline recommending cessation of antibiotic prophylaxis for prevention of infective endocarditis: before and after study. BMJ. 2011 May 3. 342:d2392. [Medline]. [Full Text].

 
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A young adult with a history of intravenous drug use diagnosed with right-sided staphylococcal endocarditis and multiple embolic pyogenic abscesses on chest radiograph.
Long axis echocardiographic view demonstrating a vegetation (Veg) on the aortic (Ao) valve. LA, left atrium; LV, left ventricle.
 
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