Clinical Characteristics and Outcomes of Patients With Cutibacterium acnes Endocarditis

Floris J. Heinen, Florent Arregle, Floris S. van den Brink, Nina Ajmone Marsan, Lucas Bernts, Patrick Houthuizen, Otto Kamp, Nienke Roescher, Naomi Timmermans, Nelianne Verkaik, Jolien Roos-Hesselink, Marco C. Post, Gilbert Habib, Wilco Tanis

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Importance: It is suggested that patients with Cutibacterium acnes endocarditis often present without fever or abnormal inflammatory markers. However, no study has yet confirmed this statement. Objective: To assess the clinical characteristics and outcomes of patients with C acnes endocarditis. Design, Setting, and Participants: A case series of 105 patients presenting to 7 hospitals in the Netherlands and France (4 university hospitals and 3 teaching hospitals) with definite endocarditis according to the modified Duke criteria between January 1, 2010, and December 31, 2020, was performed. Clinical characteristics and outcomes were retrieved from medical records. Cases were identified by blood or valve and prosthesis cultures positive for C acnes, retrieved from the medical microbiology databases. Infected pacemaker or internal cardioverter defibrillator lead cases were excluded. Statistical analysis was performed in November 2022. Main Outcomes and Measures: Main outcomes included symptoms at presentation, presence of prosthetic valve endocarditis, laboratory test results at presentation, time to positive results of blood cultures, 30-day and 1-year mortality rates, type of treatment (conservative or surgical), and endocarditis relapse rates. Results: A total of 105 patients (mean [SD] age, 61.1 [13.9] years; 96 men [91.4%]; 93 patients [88.6%] with prosthetic valve endocarditis) were identified and included. Seventy patients (66.7%) did not experience fever prior to hospital admission, nor was it present at hospitalization. The median C-reactive protein level was 3.6 mg/dL (IQR, 1.2-7.5 mg/dL), and the median leukocyte count was 10.0 × 103/µL (IQR, 8.2-12.2 × 103/µL). The median time to positive blood culture results was 7 days (IQR, 6-9 days). Surgery or reoperation was indicated for 88 patients and performed for 80 patients. Not performing the indicated surgical procedure was associated with high mortality rates. Seventeen patients were treated conservatively, in accordance with the European Society of Cardiology guideline; these patients showed relatively high rates of endocarditis recurrence (5 of 17 [29.4%]). Conclusions and Relevance: This case series suggests that C acnes endocarditis was seen predominantly among male patients with prosthetic heart valves. Diagnosing C acnes endocarditis is difficult due to its atypical presentation, with frequent absence of fever and inflammatory markers. The prolonged time to positivity of blood culture results further delays the diagnostic process. Not performing a surgical procedure when indicated seems to be associated with higher mortality rates. For prosthetic valve endocarditis with small vegetations, there should be a low threshold for surgery because this group seems prone to endocarditis recurrence.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2323112
JournalJAMA network open
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jul 2023

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