Pan African Medical Journal

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Infective endocarditis in Ethiopian children: A hospital based review of cases in Addis Ababa

T Moges, E Gedlu, P Isaakidis, A Kumar, R Van Den Berge, M Khogali, A Mekasha, SG Hinderaker


Introduction: infective endocarditis is an infection of the endocardial lining of the heart mainly associated with congenital and rheumatic heart disease. Although it is a rare disease in children, it is associated with high morbidity and mortality; death due to infective endocarditis has been reported to be as high as 26% in sub-Saharan Africa.

Methods: this was a retrospective review of routinely collected data from patient records.

Results: a total of 40 children (71% female) with 41 episodes of infective endocarditis admitted to a general paediatric ward in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia between 2008 and 2013. Age ranged from 7 months to 14 years, with a median of 9 years (Inter quartile Range: 7-12 years). Rheumatic and congenital heart diseases were underlying risk factors in 49% and 51% of cases respectively. Congestive heart failure, systemic embolization and death occurred in 66%, 12% and 7.3% respectively. Death was associated with the occurrence of systemic embolization (P-value=0.03).

Conclusion: rheumatic heart disease was an important predisposing factor for infective endocarditis in Ethiopian children. Late presentations of cases were evidenced by high proportion of complications such as congestive  heart failure. A low rate of clinically evident systemic embolization in this study may be a reflection of the diagnostic challenges. High proportion of prior antibiotic intake might explain the cause of significant BCNE. Preventive measures like primary and secondary prophylaxis of rheumatic fever may decrease the associated morbidity and mortality. Early detection and referral of cases, awareness creation about indiscriminate use of antimicrobials, and proper history taking and documentation of information recommended.
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