Gonococcal endocarditis appeared with striking frequency in the preantibiotic era compared with its surprising rarity today. We present a series of four episodes of gonococcal endocarditis, which presented to our institution in the last 2 years, after no cases in the previous decade. Three episodes involved the aortic valve and required emergency aortic valve replacement. One episode involved the tricuspid valve and was successfully cured with antibiotic infusion alone. Combining our four patients with the available 25 well-documented gonococcal endocarditis cases reported in the English medical literature during the antibiotic era, we demonstrated that the disease incidence may be increasing, that infections more often involve left-sided cardiac structures (particularly the aortic valve), and that the association with a quotidian fever curve, rash and arthritis, and overt gonococcal infection is less common than previously reported. These patients frequently present with fulminant and dramatic valvular insufficiency without immediately positive blood cultures and complete echocardiographic evaluation seems to provide a valuable aid in making a presumptive diagnosis of endocarditis and directing appropriate clinical management.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine