Fifteen patients with right-sided infective endocarditis during a 5 year period (1985-1990) were retrospectively reviewed. Isolated tricuspid valve involvement occurred in nine patients. Staphylococcus aureus was the causative organism in seven cases; four were culture negative. The diagnosis was established by two-dimensional echocardiography in 11 patients and at postmortem in the remaining four patients who succumbed shortly after admission. Fever, tachypnoea and pneumonia were universal features. A successful outcome ensued in eight patients with medical therapy alone and in two patients who were submitted to valve replacement. Five patients died, two from uncontrolled infection with repeated pulmonary emboli. Right-sided infective endocarditis should be suspected in any pneumonic illness that complicates post-abortal infection or other inadequately treated sepsis. Two-dimensional echocardiography is important in diagnosis since cardiac signs are minimal at presentation.
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