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Endocarditis prophylaxis revisited: experimental evidence of efficacy and new Swiss recommendations. Swiss Working Group for Endocarditis Prophylaxis.
Schweizerische Medizinische Wochenschrift
Because of its severity, it is agreed that infectious endocarditis should be prevented whenever possible. Determining adequate prophylactic measures involves establishing (a) the patients at risk, (b) the procedures that might provoke bacteraemia, (c) the most effective prophylactic regimen, and (d) a balance between the risks of side effects from prophylaxis and of developing infectious endocarditis. Patients at risk and procedures inducing bacteraemia have been identified by clinical studies. On the other hand, the efficacy of prophylactic antibiotics has been based on animal studies. Randomised, placebo-controlled studies do not exist in humans because they would require large patient numbers and would raise ethical issues due to the severity of the disease. Case-control studies have indicated that infectious endocarditis prophylaxis is effective, but prevents only a limited number of cases. Animal experiments have revealed several key issues for human application. First, antibiotics do not prevent the early stages of valve colonisation, but rather kill the microorganisms after their attachment to the cardiac lesions. Second, the duration of antibiotic presence in the serum is critical. Under experimental conditions, the drugs must remain above their minimal inhibitory concentration for the organisms for > or = 10 h, to allow time for bacterial clearance from the valves. Third, antibiotic-induced killing is not the only mechanism allowing bacterial clearance. Other factors, such as platelet microbicidal proteins, may act in concert with the drugs to sterilise the lesions. Recommendations for prophylaxis have recently been revised in Europe and the USA. New information has improved the definition of groups at risk. Since most cases of infectious endocarditis are not preceded by medical procedures, primary prevention of infectious endocarditis should target infected foci responsible for spontaneous bacteraemia (e.g. poor dental hygiene). The purpose of this article is to update the existing recommendations in Switzerland, under the perspective of changing epidemiology, the availability of new drugs, and harmonisation with recommendations in other countries.
Antibiotic Prophylaxis, Bacterial Infections/physiopathology, Bacterial Infections/prevention & control, Endocarditis/epidemiology, Endocarditis/etiology, Heart Defects, Congenital/complications, Heart Valve Diseases/complications, Humans, Mitral Valve Prolapse/complications, Quality Assurance, Health Care, Risk Factors, Type="Geographic">Switzerland
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