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Medical Science Monitor Basic Research


A 34-Year-Old Male Intravenous Drug User with a Third Episode of Tricuspid Valve Endocarditis Treated with Repeat Valve Surgery

Jeffrey W. Cannon, J.W. Awori Hayanga, Thomas B. Drvar, Matthew Ellison, Christopher Cook, Muhammad Salman, Harold Roberts, Vinay Badhwar, Heather K. Hayanga

USA Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine, University Hospitals/Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH, USA

Am J Case Rep 2021; 22:e927385 :: DOI: 10.12659/AJCR.927385

Available online: 2021-02-19, In Press, Corrected Proof

Publication in the "In-Press" formula aims at speeding up the public availability of the pending manuscript while waiting for the final publication.
The assigned DOI number is active and citable. The availability of the article in the Medline, PubMed and PMC databases as well as Web of Science will be obtained after the final publication according to the journal schedule


BACKGROUND Intravenous drug use is an epidemic in the United States. One of the complications of intravenous drug use can be infective endocarditis. The treatment for this disease is a combination of intravenous antibiotics, cardiac surgery consultation, and multidisciplinary psychiatric care. Despite surgical intervention, recurrence of disease is common. In the setting of recurrent infective endocarditis in the setting of intravenous drug use, the ethics of redo cardiac surgery has not been well-established.
CASE REPORT A 34-year-old man with history of intravenous drug use presented on 3 separate occasions with infective endocarditis resulting in 3 tricuspid valve surgeries within fewer than 7 months. He said he had not injected drugs since before his first operation, he was considered to have a strong social support system, and he completed his postoperative antibiotic regimens each time. However, prior to his last operation, the patient had a urine drug screen positive for opiates without recorded prescribed opioids. Pathology reports from the 3 intraoperative specimens showed different pathogens each time. An extensive interprofessional discussion ensued.
CONCLUSIONS Infective endocarditis in the setting of intravenous drug use and its treatments continue to be a point of ethical and medical discussion for all professionals involved with the care of these patients. This case could be used as an example of individualized decision-making, with rigorous ethical and medical discussion factoring into each decision for cardiac surgery. The ongoing treatment for patients with recurrent endocarditis in the setting of intravenous drug use requires more research and guidelines to help medical professionals better care for this patient population.

Keywords: Endocarditis; Ethics, Clinical; Substance Abuse, Intravenous