The diagnostic challenge of acute Q fever endocarditis

Torcato Moreira Marques, Lourenço Cruz, Raquel Soares, Sofia Eusébio

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A 79-year-old man was admitted to our ward with symptomatic heart failure 2 months after aortic valve replacement due to severe aortic stenosis. On the third day following admission, he became febrile (>38°C) while manifesting an increase in inflammatory markers. Endocarditis was suspected despite negative blood cultures. Echocardiogram (transthoracic and transesophageal) did not describe any vegetations. No hypermetabolic lesions were described on the Positron emission tomography scan. Empirical antibiotics were started but the fever persisted. Serologies revealed a Coxiella burnetii IgG phase II titre of 1:800, high erythrocyte sedimentation rate. Positive antinuclear antibodies, antibeta2 IgM and anticardiolipin supported a diagnosis of acute Q fever endocarditis. Doxycycline and hydroxychloroquine were started with total resolution of symptoms. This case illustrates the difficulty of diagnosing Q fever endocarditis during its acute phase, not only because vegetations can be minimal or absent, a challenge that is further compounded by a complex presentation of immunological markers.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere243743
JournalBMJ case reports
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jul 2021


  • cardiovascular medicine
  • infectious diseases
  • valvar diseases


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