Background: Despite advances in medical, surgical, and critical care interventions, infective endocarditis remains a disease that is associated with considerable morbidity and mortality. The continuing evolution of antimicrobial resistance among common pathogens that cause infective endocarditis creates additional therapeutic issues for physicians to manage in this potentially life-threatening illness.
Methods and results: This work represents the third iteration of an infective endocarditis "treatment" document developed by the American Heart Association under the auspices of the Committee on Rheumatic Fever, Endocarditis, and Kawasaki Disease, Council on Cardiovascular Disease of the Young. It updates recommendations for diagnosis, treatment, and management of complications of infective endocarditis. A multidisciplinary committee of experts drafted this document to assist physicians in the evolving care of patients with infective endocarditis in the new millennium. This extensive document is accompanied by an executive summary that covers the key points of the diagnosis, antimicrobial therapy, and management of infective endocarditis. For the first time, an evidence-based scoring system that is used by the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association was applied to treatment recommendations. Tables also have been included that provide input on the use of echocardiography during diagnosis and treatment of infective endocarditis, evaluation and treatment of culture-negative endocarditis, and short-term and long-term management of patients during and after completion of antimicrobial treatment. To assist physicians who care for children, pediatric dosing was added to each treatment regimen.
Conclusions: The recommendations outlined in this update should assist physicians in all aspects of patient care in the diagnosis, medical and surgical treatment, and follow-up of infective endocarditis, as well as management of associated complications. Clinical variability and complexity in infective endocarditis, however, dictate that these guidelines be used to support and not supplant physician-directed decisions in individual patient management.