Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Infectious heart disease death rates rising again say scientists

11.09.2008
Infectious heart disease is still a major killer in spite of improvements in health care, but the way the disease develops has changed so much since its discovery that nineteenth century doctors would not recognise it, scientists heard today (Thursday 11 September 2008) at the Society for General Microbiology's Autumn meeting being held this week at Trinity College, Dublin.

Infective endocarditis is a devastating, progressive and frequently fatal heart disease usually caused by bacterial pathogens. It was first identified in the nineteenth century and has changed beyond all recognition due to evolution of the disease itself and developments in modern healthcare such as open-heart surgery, antibiotics and new medical imaging techniques.

"In spite of these medical advances, infective endocarditis is still evolving and we are seeing new patterns of the disease and its complications. Despite all our improvements in health care, the death rate has been virtually unchanged for the last 20 years, and now seems to be rising again," said cardiologist Dr Bernard Prendergast from the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, UK.

"In the nineteenth century rheumatism affecting the heart valves was the most common form of heart disease and the usual target for infective endocarditis. Now that people live so long, degenerative heart valve disease is a more common problem. We're also seeing complications in patients who have received replacement heart valves and infections as a result of intravenous drug use," said Dr Prendergast. "On top of that, aggressive Staphylococcus infections are now common, and conventional antibiotic treatments are becoming less effective because of drug-resistant bacteria".

Early surgery to treat valve infection would probably save many lives. However, the operations needed are often tricky and high risk because patients are extremely sick at the time of surgery. For this reason, the timing of the operation can be difficult and expert care is essential.

A second controversy is whether patients with valve disease can be protected from the risk of infection at the time of routine procedures such as dental work by using preventative antibiotic treatment. While this has been traditional practice, recent assessment by the government watchdog NICE, has suggested that this practice is obsolete, although this recommendation is in conflict with the position in the USA and Europe.

"It's an impossible and continuing debate, fuelled by fundamental differences in international guidelines," said Dr Prendergast. "We just don't have the results from properly conducted and randomised clinical trials to know whether routine prophylactic antibiotics are helpful or not. Greater awareness of the dangers of infective endocarditis amongst both doctors and patients is certainly essential and improved dental health and skin hygiene are probably at least as important as blanket antibiotic treatment. As the disease evolves even further this debate could run on for years with heart physicians, microbiologists and surgeons all having different opinions. This is very unhelpful and confusing for patients."

Lucy Goodchild | alfa
Further information:
http://www.sgm.ac.uk

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Norovirus evades immune system by hiding out in rare gut cells
12.10.2017 | University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

nachricht Flexible sensors can detect movement in GI tract
11.10.2017 | Massachusetts Institute of Technology

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

Im Focus: New nanomaterial can extract hydrogen fuel from seawater

Hybrid material converts more sunlight and can weather seawater's harsh conditions

It's possible to produce hydrogen to power fuel cells by extracting the gas from seawater, but the electricity required to do it makes the process costly. UCF...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Study suggests oysters offer hot spot for reducing nutrient pollution

17.10.2017 | Life Sciences

Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

17.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

World first for reading digitally encoded synthetic molecules

17.10.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>