The Journal of infectious diseases

Prophylaxis of experimental endocarditis with antiplatelet and antithrombin agents: a role for long-term prevention of infective endocarditis in humans?

PMID 25086177


Infective endocarditis (IE) mostly occurs after spontaneous low-grade bacteremia. Thus, IE cannot be prevented by circumstantial antibiotic prophylaxis. Platelet activation following bacterial-fibrinogen interaction or thrombin-mediated fibrinogen-fibrin polymerization is a critical step in vegetation formation. We tested the efficacy of antiplatelet and antithrombin to prevent experimental IE. A rat model of experimental IE following prolonged low-grade bacteremia mimicking smoldering bacteremia in humans was used. Prophylaxis with antiplatelets (aspirin, ticlopidine [alone or in combination], eptifibatide, or abciximab) or anticoagulants (antithrombin dabigatran etexilate or anti-vitamin K acenocoumarol) was started 2 days before inoculation with Streptococcus gordonii or Staphylococcus aureus. Valve infection was assessed 24 hours later. Aspirin plus ticlopidine, as well as abciximab, protected 45%-88% of animals against S. gordonii and S. aureus IE (P < .05). Dabigatran etexilate protected 75% of rats against IE due to S. aureus (P < .005) but failed to protect against S. gordonii (<30% protection). Acenocoumarol was ineffective. Antiplatelet and direct antithrombin agents may be useful in the prophylaxis of IE in humans. In particular, the potential dual benefit of dabigatran etexilate might be reconsidered for patients with prosthetic valves, who require life-long anticoagulation and in whom S. aureus IE is associated with high mortality.