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Arch Mal Coeur Vaiss. 2004 Jun;97(6):626-31.

[New French recommendations for the prophylaxis of infectious endocarditis].

[Article in French]

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Service de cardiologie, CHU Nancy-Brabois, Vandoeuvre-les-Nancy.


New French recommendations on infective endocarditis (IE) prevention were recently published and mark a turning point in the history of antibiotic prophylaxis. Endocarditis is an evolving disease, and its clinical and microbiological profile dramatically changes over time. The French surveys that were conducted in 1991 and 1999 showed variations in underlying heart disease with a decrease in native valvular disease and an increase of IE in patients without previously known heart disease. Moreover, the distribution of responsible microorganisms dramatically changed over time, with a marked decrease of oral streptococci. In addition, some dogmas are now challenged. First of all, the part of responsibility of dental procedures is debated, as dental bacteraemia possibly responsible of endocarditis are more likely due to daily manoeuvres such as tooth brushing or chewing gum than to occasional dental procedures. Moreover, as suggested by case-control studies, efficacy--or lack of efficacy--of antibiotic prophylaxis is far from being clinically proved. For all these reasons, the proportion of theoretically avoidable endocarditis seems very low, and the benefit of largely and systematically applied antibiotic prophylaxis may be discussed, not only in terms of financial cost but also in terms of microbiological threat of emergence of antibiotic resistant bacteria. So, the general idea of those new recommendations was to maintain the principle and the modalities of antibiotic prophylaxis, but to limit its indications to situations at high benefit to risk ratio, i.e. procedures at high risk in patients at high risk. Depending on the situation, antibiotic prophylaxis may be either recommended or become optional and decision-making factors are defined. Furthermore, the importance of general prophylaxis was emphasised, concerning more specifically oral and cutaneous hygiene, and patients and practitioners' education, such as, for example, recommendations on blood cultures to be performed before any antibiotic treatment in case on fever occurring in a patient at risk during the 3 months following a procedure at risk.

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