The Japanese Circulation Society appointed a committee to develop guidelines for the prevention, diagnosis and management of infective endocarditis in Japan. In making such guidelines, the committee required information on the current clinical characteristics of infective endocarditis and therefore performed a nationwide questionnaire survey of cases from 2000 and 2001. In total, data were received for 848 cases from 277 of the 817 hospitals surveyed. Mean age was 55+/-18 years and most patients were aged in their 50 s or 60 s; 53.9% of the patients had infective endocarditis of unknown origin (without any prior predisposing conditions or procedures) and the second most common etiology was post dental procedures. The most common microorganism was Gram-positive cocci (345 streptococci and 221 staphylococci) and methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) was found in 7.3%. Although more than 90% of cases with Streptococcus viridans were sensitive to penicillin G, 6.6% were resistant. All MRSAs were sensitive to vancomycin. The information obtained from the survey assisted in the making of the guidelines, which should become an indispensable tool for all clinicians.