The value of an “Endocarditis Team”
Establishment of the Heart Team concept in the field of cardiovascular medicine has resulted in quality improvement in the management of heart valve disease and heart failure. Similarly, the concept of an Endocarditis Team would be important in improving outcomes in patients with infective endocarditis (IE), given it is an uncommon clinical entity with general practitioners and low-volume centers lacking sufficient experience in its management. A multidisciplinary approach can substantially reduce the still unacceptably high morbidity and mortality in patients with IE, as it allows early diagnosis and appropriate comprehensive management. Decision-making within the Endocarditis Team must follow a standard protocol that is based on current clinical guidelines for the management of IE. If surgery is indicated, it is best performed sooner than later in most instances. Communication between referring hospitals and reference centers with an established Endocarditis Team must be smooth and definite protocols for transfer to experienced endocarditis centers with surgical facilities is essential. Follow-up and outpatient care following hospital discharge is crucial due to the possibility of residual infection and risk of development of recurrent endocarditis or heart failure, particularly within the first 2 years. Patient and health-care provider education is the mainstay for the accurate implementation of the Endocarditis Team concept. The following Keynote Lecture offers an overview of the current literature supporting the multidisciplinary management of IE and addresses multiple aspects related to the Endocarditis Team, highlighting its importance and necessity for the comprehensive treatment of this complex disease.