The BSAC guidelines on treatment of infectious endocarditis (IE) were last published in 2004. The guidelines presented here have been updated and extended to reflect developments in diagnostics, new trial data and the availability of new antibiotics. The aim of these guidelines, which cover both native valve and prosthetic valve endocarditis, is to standardize the initial investigation and treatment of IE. An extensive review of the literature using a number of different search criteria has been carried out and cited publications used to support any changes we have made to the existing guidelines. Publications referring to in vitro or animal models have only been cited if appropriate clinical data are not available. Randomized, controlled trials suitable for the development of evidenced-based guidelines in this area are still lacking and therefore a consensus approach has again been adopted for most recommendations; however, we have attempted to grade the evidence, where possible. The guidelines have also been extended by the inclusion of sections on clinical diagnosis, echocardiography and surgery.