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Case report
Systemic septic emboli in tricuspid endocarditis due to an atrial communication with a right-to-left shunt
  1. Olivia Farrant1,
  2. Gabriella Scozzi2 and
  3. Rebecca Hughes3
  1. 1Mortimer Market Centre, Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK
  2. 2Chelsea and Westminster Healthcare NHS Trust, London, UK
  3. 3Barts Heart Centre, Barts and The London NHS Trust, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Olivia Farrant; o.farrant{at}


We present the case of a patient admitted to hospital in septic shock. He had a history of tricuspid valve infective endocarditis (IE) 6 months prior and regularly injected intravenous drugs. A bedside echo on arrival confirmed vegetations on his tricuspid valve, torrential tricuspid regurgitation and signs of significantly raised right-sided pressures. The admission chest radiograph showed consolidative changes in the lungs, suggestive of septic pulmonary emboli. He was commenced on antibiotics and treated in the high-dependency unit. He subsequently developed an acutely ischaemic right foot and nasal tip. Suspicions were raised of a paradoxical septic embolus through a right-to-left shunt, subsequently confirmed on bubble echo which showed passage of agitated saline between the atria. This was not apparent clinically or on echocardiogram during his previous episode of tricuspid valve IE, raising the possibility of the development of an acquired inter-atrial communication since his previous episode.

  • valvar diseases
  • infectious diseases
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  • Contributors OF was responsible for the planning, medical note review, acquisition of images and writing of this report. RH read and edited the finalised draft. GS acquired information about the patient’s previous and index admission from the medical notes.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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