Pulling Problem Teeth Before Heart Surgery to Prevent Infection May Be Catch-22

To pull or not to pull? That is a common question when patients have the potentially dangerous combination of abscessed or infected teeth and the need for heart surgery. In such cases, problem teeth often are removed before surgery, to reduce the risk of infections including endocarditis, a pollution of the inner lining of the heart that can prove deadly. But new Mayo Clinic research suggests that may not be the answer: The study found that nearly 1 in 10 heart surgery patients who had troublesome teeth extracted before surgery died or had other major adverse outcomes such as a stroke or kidney failure. The findings are published in The Annals of Thoracic Surgery.

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