The Challenge of Timing Surgery in a Complex Case of Endocarditis
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While the results of clinical trials are useful in guiding management of the "average" patient, physicians are often left to their own devices when confronted with cases that neither fulfil the entrance criteria for clinical trials nor conveniently match evidence-based guidelines. We present a teaching exercise, built around a complex case of endocarditis, in a branched self-assessment format that challenges the reader's clinical judgement. The case involves a woman aged 45 years with decompensated liver cirrhosis who presents with endocarditis complicated by heart failure and multiple systemic emboli. The risk-to-benefit ratio for urgent surgical intervention tilts as the complications accumulate.
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