The Utility of Echocardiography in Pediatric Patients with Structurally Normal Hearts and Suspected Endocarditis

Patrick Kelly, Nancy Hua, Erin J. Madriago, Kathryn W. Holmes, Robin Shaughnessy, Christina Ronai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The objective of this study was to evaluate the utility of transthoracic echocardiography (TTE) in children with structurally normal hearts suspected of having infective endocarditis (IE). We hypothesized that the diagnostic yield of TTE is minimal in low-risk patients with normal hearts. We performed a retrospective chart review of TTEs performed for concern for endocarditis at a pediatric tertiary care referral center in Portland, Oregon. Three hundred patients met inclusion criteria (< 21 years old, completed TTE for IE from 2005 to 2015, no history of congenital heart disease or endocarditis). We recorded findings that met the modified Duke criteria (MDC) including fever, positive blood culture, and vascular/immunologic findings; presence of a central line; whether or not patients were diagnosed with IE clinically; and if any changes to antibiotic regimens were made based on TTE. Ten patients (3%) had echocardiograms consistent with IE. When compared to the clinical diagnosis of IE, the positive predictive value (PPV) of one positive blood culture without other major/minor MDC was 0. Similarly, the PPV of two positive blood cultures without other major/minor criteria was 0.071. Patients should be evaluated using the MDC to assess the clinical probability of IE prior to performing a TTE. Patients with a low probability for IE should not undergo TTE as it has a low diagnostic yield and patients are unlikely to be diagnosed with disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)62-68
Number of pages7
JournalPediatric Cardiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020


  • Echocardiography
  • Endocarditis
  • Modified Duke criteria
  • Screening

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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