Background: Since the introduction of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) guideline (CG064) in 2008 recommending cessation of antibiotic prophylaxis (AP) against infective endocarditis (IE), low level prescribing persists in the UK and is a potential reason why there has been no significant change in the general upward trend in cases of IE.
Aim: To undertake a survey of dentists (Ds), cardiologists and cardiothoracic surgeons (C/CTSs) and infection specialists (ISs) to determine why this might be the case.
Design: Internet questionnaire-based survey.
Methods: A questionnaire was distributed by email to specialists via UK national societies.
Results: A total of 1168 responses were received. All the specialist groups are aware of the guideline (99%). Ds are broadly satisfied, whereas C/CTSs are not. Most Ds follow the NICE guidance (87%), whereas many C/CTSs (39%) do not; ISs adopt a middle course (56%). Even amongst Ds, a significant proportion believe that patients with a prosthetic heart valve (25%) or previous history of IE (38%) should receive AP. A total of 36% of Ds have prescribed AP since March 2008 and many have undertaken procedures where AP has been prescribed by someone else. The majority of respondents (65%) feel that more evidence is required, preferably in the form of a randomized controlled trial.
Conclusion: Many patients perceived to be at high risk of IE are still receiving AP in conflict with current NICE guidance.