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Staphylococcal Tricuspid Endocarditis in Heroin Addicts

Ann Intern Med. 1962;57(5):755-762. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-57-5-755
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Bacterial endocarditis is a frequent complication of heroin addiction, especially in addicts taking the drug by the "mainline" or intravenous route. Hussey and Katz found an incidence of 8 per cent in 102 addicts with a variety of infections (1). In 7 the causative microorganism was a staphylococcus, and autopsy in the 4 patients who died revealed infection of the tricuspid valve. These patients were characterized clinically by a triad of heroin addiction, septicemia, and pulmonary infarction in the absence of peripheral venous disease. Murmurs and other physical findings characteristic of tricuspid insufficiency were absent, although autopsy revealed extensive valve


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