Surgeons’ Re-Operative Valve Replacement Practices with Patients with Endocarditis Due to Drug Use




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endocarditis, surgery, cardiac surgery, drug abuse, ethics


Cardiovascular Diseases | Surgery


Background: This study discerns surgeons’ attitudes and practices in the determination of heart valve replacement for patients with endocarditis due to intravenous drug use (IVDU-IE). We aimed to identify factors contributing to surgeons’ decision-making process for initial and recurrent surgical heart valves, and the availability of institutional guidance.

Methods: An IRB approved, anonymous mixed-methods survey instrument was designed and validated with 24 questions. Cardiothoracic surgeons in the U.S. and globally were recruited with a total of 220 enrolling in the study with 176 completing every question on the survey.

Results: A cluster analysis revealed that although surgeons can be divided into sub-groups based on their previous experience with valve replacements, these groups are not perfectly homogenous, and the number of identified clusters is dependent on technique used. ANOVA analysis revealed that the variables that most clearly divided the surgeons into subgroups were, in order of importance, years of practice, number of valve replacements, and geography.

Conclusions: Our analysis showed heterogeneity among cardiothoracic surgeons regarding how they make clinical decisions regarding re-operative valve replacement related to IVDU-IE Therefore, an opportunity exists for an interprofessional team to develop guidelines to decrease variability in surgical decision-making regarding valve replacement associated with IVDU-IE

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