The Effect of Preexisting Anticoagulation on Cerebrovascular Events in Left-Sided Infective Endocarditis

Published:September 05, 2019DOI:



      Stroke is a frequent complication of infective endocarditis, especially infection involving left-sided valves. Management of anticoagulation in left-sided infective endocarditis is controversial as it is unclear whether anticoagulation impacts stroke and bleeding risk in patients with this condition. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of anticoagulation on stroke occurrence and bleeding complications in patients with left-sided infective endocarditis.


      Patients admitted to a tertiary academic hospital with left-sided infective endocarditis between December 2011 and April 2018 were identified. Patients were stratified based on receipt of therapeutic anticoagulation prior to admission. The primary outcome measure was the rate of radiographically confirmed stroke at 10 weeks.


      Two-hundred and fifty-eight consecutive patients with left-sided infective endocarditis were identified. Patients receiving anticoagulation (n = 50) were older (median age 63 vs 52; P = .02), were more likely to have a history of atrial fibrillation (22% vs 8.2%; P < .01), more often had prosthetic valves (38% vs 13.9%; P < .01), and had a lower incidence of mitral valve involvement (40% vs 62%; P < .01), compared with patients not receiving anticoagulation. There was no significant difference in the rate of stroke, cerebrovascular hemorrhage, or mortality at 10 weeks between the two cohorts.


      Preexisting anticoagulation did not appear to have an effect on stroke, cerebrovascular hemorrhage, or mortality in patients with left-sided infective endocarditis at 10 weeks. Continuation of anticoagulation in patients with a definitive preexisting indication should be considered in patients with left-sided infective endocarditis in the absence of other contraindications.


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