Endocarditis due to Tropheryma whipplei: rapid detection, limited genetic diversity, and long-term clinical outcome in a local experience

Escher, R; Roth, S; Droz, S; Egli, K; Altwegg, M; Täuber, M G (2010). Endocarditis due to Tropheryma whipplei: rapid detection, limited genetic diversity, and long-term clinical outcome in a local experience. Clinical microbiology and infection, 16(8), pp. 1213-22. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing 10.1111/j.1469-0691.2009.03038.x

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The characteristic features of Whipple's disease include abdominal pain, diarrhoea, wasting, and arthralgias, with the causative agent, Tropheryma whipplei, being detected mainly in intestinal biopsies. PCR technology has led to the identification of T. whipplei in specimens from various other locations, including the central nervous system and the heart. T. whipplei is now recognized as one of the causes of culture-negative endocarditis, and endocarditis can be the only manifestation of the infection with T. whipplei. Although it is considered a rare disease, the true incidence of endocarditis due to T. whipplei is not clearly established. With the increasing use of molecular methods, it is likely that T. whipplei will be more frequently identified. Questions also remain about the genetic variability of T. whipplei strains, optimal diagnostic procedures and therapeutic options. In the present study, we provide clinical data on four new patients with documented endocarditis due to T. whipplei in the context of the available published literature. There was no clinical involvement of the gastrointestinal tract. Genetic analysis of the T. whipplei strains with DNA isolated from the excised heart valves revealed little to no genetic variability. In a selected case, we describe acridine orange staining for early detection of the disease, prompting early adaptation of the antibiotic therapy. We provide long-term follow-up data on the patients. In our hands, an initial 2-week course of intravenous antibiotics followed by cotrimoxazole for at least 1 year was a suitable treatment option for T. whipplei endocarditis.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Haematology, Oncology, Infectious Diseases, Laboratory Medicine and Hospital Pharmacy (DOLS) > Clinic of Infectiology

UniBE Contributor:

Täuber, Martin G.




Blackwell Publishing




Factscience Import

Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 14:08

Last Modified:

10 Aug 2016 16:01

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Web of Science ID:



https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/349 (FactScience: 197638)

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