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Serratia marcescens Endocarditis: A Regional Illness Associated with Intravenous Drug Abuse

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▸Requests for reprints should be addressed to John Mills, M.D., Room 4401, Medical Service, San Francisco General Hospital, 1001 Potrero Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94110.

San Francisco and Oakland, California

Ann Intern Med. 1976;84(1):29-35. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-84-1-29
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From 1969 to 1974, 19 cases of Serratia marcescens endocarditis were observed in the San Francisco Bay Area. Seventeen patients were intravenous drug users, and Serratia caused 14% of all addict-associated endocarditis in San Francisco. Serratia strains were nonpigmented and had typical antibiotic sensitivities, except that 9 of the isolates exhibited colonial variation, with each variant having different antibiotic sensitivities. Aortic or mitral valves were involved in 13 patients, and heart failure developed in 9 of these. Twelve patients had embolic episodes to brain, iliofemoral arteries, or lung. Five of 6 patients with tricuspid valvulitis were cured by antibiotics either with (1) or without excision of the valve. All 12 patients with aortic or mitral valvulitis treated medically died; 11 had unremitting sepsis. Aortic valve replacement and antibiotics were effective in 1. Gentamicin combined with either carbenicillin or chloramphenicol was the most effective treatment regimen.





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