A remarkable case of late-onset biatrial bacterial endocarditis of the Gore HELEX septal occluder.

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A remarkable case of late-onset biatrial bacterial endocarditis of the Gore HELEX septal occluder.

J Cardiol Cases. 2017 Dec;16(6):202-204

Authors: Thiagaraj AK, Bloomingdale R, Telila T, Afonso LC

Abstract
The HELEX septal occluder (W.L. Gore & Associates, Newark, DE, USA) is a popular closure device for patent foramen ovale (PFO) and secundum atrial septal defect (ASD). Composed of a versatile polymer and a wire frame, it has been used for nearly a decade. A 50-year-old African American man with a PFO repaired 5 years previously with the HELEX was admitted to our hospital with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus bacteremia. A transesophageal echocardiogram demonstrated large mobile vegetations on the left and right atrial aspects of the occluder. Cardiothoracic surgery was consulted for removal of the vegetations and device, but hesitated owing to concurrent foot osteomyelitis and concern for re-infection of a potential replacement device. The patient was persistently bacteremic, his course complicated by septic pulmonary and cerebral emboli, but eventually cleared his infection on antibiotic therapy. Seventy days since admission, the patient was discharged to a rehabilitation facility. The case illustrates that infection is possible years after PFO/ASD closure despite a theoretical neoendothelialization within 6 months of implantation. Furthermore, it accentuates the success of timely and aggressive medical treatment, thereby averting high-risk open cardiac surgery. <Learning objective: The Gore HELEX atrial septal occluder was designed to minimize post-implantation infection. However, our case illustrates that the device can be vulnerable to infection even years after placement. Additionally, treatment success with non-operative management underpins the value of swift and aggressive antimicrobial therapy.>.

PMID: 30279835 [PubMed]