Prevention of bacterial endocarditis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Dental treatment, surgical procedures, or instrumentation involving mucosal surfaces or contaminated tissue may cause transient bacteremia. Blood-borne bacteria may lodge on damaged or abnormal heart valves or on endocardium near congenital anatomic defects and result in bacterial endocarditis or endarteritis. However, it is impossible to predict which patients will develop this infection or which procedures will be responsible. Therefore, prophylactic antibiotics are recommended for patients at risk who are undergoing those procedures most likely to cause bacteremia. It is important that such antibiotics be initiated shortly before, not several days before, a procedure. Certain patients, for example those with prosthetic heart valves and surgically constructed systemic-pulmonary shunts or conduits, are at higher risk of endocarditis than others (Table 1). Likewise, certain dental (eg, extractions) and surgical (eg, genitourinary tract) procedures are much more likely to initiate significant bacteremia than are others (Table 2). Although the importance of such factors is difficult to quantitate, they have been considered in developing these recommendations. Antibiotic regimens used to prevent recurrences of acute rheumatic fever are inadequate for the prevention of bacterial endocarditis. Appropriate additional antibiotics should be prescribed at times of procedures associated with risk of development of endocarditis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)603-607
Number of pages5
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1985

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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