Purpose: Infective endocarditis (IE) in high-risk patients is a potentially severe complication which justifies the administration of antibiotics before invasive dental treatment. This literature review presents the current guidelines for antibiotic prophylaxis and discusses the controversial aspects related to the antibiotic administration for prevention of IE.
Results: According to the guidelines of the American Heart Association, individuals who are at risk to develop IE following an invasive dental procedure still benefit from antibiotic prophylaxis. In contrast, the guidelines of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence in England and Wales have recommended that prophylactic antibiotic treatment should no longer be performed in any at-risk patient. Bacteraemia following daily routines such as eating and toothbrushing may be a greater risk factor for the development of IE than the transient bacteraemia that follows an invasive dental procedure. However, a single administration of a penicillin derivate 30 to 60 minutes pre-operatively still represents the main prophylactic strategy to prevent bacteraemia.
Conclusions: Presently, there is not enough evidence that supports and defines the administration of antibiotics to prevent IE. The authors suggest performing a risk-benefit evaluation in light of the available guidelines before a decision is made about administration.
Keywords: antibiotic prophylaxis, bacteraemia, current guidelines, endocarditis