Background: The purpose of this statement is to update the recommendations by the American Heart Association (AHA) for the prevention of infective endocarditis that were last published in 1997.
Methods and results: A writing group was appointed by the AHA for their expertise in prevention and treatment of infective endocarditis, with liaison members representing the American Dental Association, the Infectious Diseases Society of America, and the American Academy of Pediatrics. The writing group reviewed input from national and international experts on infective endocarditis. The recommendations in this document reflect analyses of relevant literature regarding procedure-related bacteremia and infective endocarditis, in vitro susceptibility data of the most common microorganisms that cause infective endocarditis, results of prophylactic studies in animal models of experimental endocarditis, and retrospective and prospective studies of prevention of infective endocarditis. MEDLINE database searches from 1950 to 2006 were done for English-language papers using the following search terms: endocarditis, infective endocarditis, prophylaxis, prevention, antibiotic, antimicrobial, pathogens, organisms, dental, gastrointestinal, genitourinary, streptococcus, enterococcus, staphylococcus, respiratory, dental surgery, pathogenesis, vaccine, immunization, and bacteremia. The reference lists of the identified papers were also searched. We also searched the AHA online library. The American College of Cardiology/AHA classification of recommendations and levels of evidence for practice guidelines were used. The paper was subsequently reviewed by outside experts not affiliated with the writing group and by the AHA Science Advisory and Coordinating Committee.
Conclusions: The major changes in the updated recommendations include the following: (1) The Committee concluded that only an extremely small number of cases of infective endocarditis might be prevented by antibiotic prophylaxis for dental procedures even if such prophylactic therapy were 100% effective. (2) Infective endocarditis prophylaxis for dental procedures is reasonable only for patients with underlying cardiac conditions associated with the highest risk of adverse outcome from infective endocarditis. (3) For patients with these underlying cardiac conditions, prophylaxis is reasonable for all dental procedures that involve manipulation of gingival tissue or the periapical region of teeth or perforation of the oral mucosa. (4) Prophylaxis is not recommended based solely on an increased lifetime risk of acquisition of infective endocarditis. (5) Administration of antibiotics solely to prevent endocarditis is not recommended for patients who undergo a genitourinary or gastrointestinal tract procedure. These changes are intended to define more clearly when infective endocarditis prophylaxis is or is not recommended and to provide more uniform and consistent global recommendations.