Infections of the heart and cardiovascular system are very serious and require the actions of a multidisciplinary team of experts to improve their prevention, diagnosis and treatment
Cardiovascular infections in general and infective endocarditis (IE) in particular are diseases that have severe effects on patients quality of life. They have high morbidity and mortality rates, as they affect the heart and the vessels, as well as other organs such as the brain. Surgical treatment is necessary in more than fifty per cent of cases.
Our principal objective is to transfer basic scientific knowledge to daily clinical practice. Making progress in the study of IE requires an interdisciplinary and translational approach, from basic in vitro and in vivo laboratory research in an experimental endocarditis model to clinical studies. This is achieved by a close collaboration between experts in infectious disease, microbiology, cardiology, cardiac and electrophysiological imaging, heart surgery, nuclear medicine, neurology and anatomical pathology. The aspects of IE addressed covered all the clinical spectrum of IE: prevention strategies; optimizing drug monitoring; improving clinical imaging and laboratory diagnostic techniques; developing new, effective treatment strategies; and studying improved surgical approaches.
The results of our studies can have an important impact on society, as they can lead to: earlier diagnosis of these diseases; the identification of new antibiotics, antibiotic combinations and therapeutic strategies that are effective for treating cardiovascular infections; better determination of the best time for heart surgery in diseases involving cardiovascular infections; and the prevention of post-operative cardiovascular infections and those that develop in patients with heart disease.
The conclusions of the studies that we have conducted may be incorporated into national and international clinical guidelines.