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Risk factors for infective endocarditis (IE) include congenital heart defects, poor dentition, immunosuppression, or recent instrumentation. The occupational hazard of a dog bite, combined with bicuspid aortic valve (BAV) led to IE. 16S ribosomal DNA was able to pinpoint the causative organism. A healthy 33-year-old postman presented in profound heart failure and sepsis due to aortic regurgitation and an aortic root abscess. He underwent emergency aortic valve replacement and was found to have a BAV and anomalous right coronary artery. Blood cultures remained negative. 16S ribosomal DNA polymerase chain reaction (PCR) revealed the causative organism was Capnocytophaga canimorsus. On review, he recalled receiving a dog bite followed by a febrile illness a few days later. Congenital BAVs may become infected by seemingly innocuous injuries. 16S rDNA PCR is a more sensitive and specific diagnostic test than culture. This case demonstrates its utility in providing appropriate antimicrobial management for IE.


Marliza O'Dwyer, Julie-Anne Houlihan, Sadhbh O'Rourke, Vincent Young, Brian O'Connell. An Infected Bicuspid Aortic Valve, an Anomalous Coronary Artery, and a Dog-Bitten Postman. Journal of investigative medicine high impact case reports. 2022 Jan-Dec;10:23247096221092283

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PMID: 35638178

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