This population-based study aimed to determine the incidence of native, prosthetic, and bioprosthetic valve nosocomial infective endocarditis (IE), and IE associated with the use of injected drugs. Patients with IE during 27 months over the years 1988 to 1990, and residing in any of 6 counties in the Philadelphia metropolitan area were identified. An expert panel reviewed all patients to verify the diagnosis. Incidence rates were estimated after adjustment for failure to recruit and underreporting. Of 853 potential patients, 670 (79%) met the inclusion criteria. The overall incidence rate of IE was 11.6 cases/100,000 person-years (95% confidence interval [CI] 10.8 to 12.4). The rates for specific types of IE were: 4.45 (95% CI 3.97 to 4.94) for community-acquired native valve, 0.94 (95% CI 0.72 to 1.12) for prosthetic valve, 0.94 (95% CI 0.71 to 1.16) for nosocomial, and 5.34 (95% CI 4.80 to 5.87) for IE associated with use of injected drugs. Previous population studies found overall incidence rates of 1.7 to 4 cases/100,000 person-years, similar to our rate for community-acquired native valve IE. Type-specific rates have not been previously reported. The higher overall rate in this study is partly related to the high prevalence of injection drug use in our area.