Cahill TJ., Prendergast BD.
Infective endocarditis occurs worldwide, and is defined by infection of a native or prosthetic heart valve, the endocardial surface, or an indwelling cardiac device. The causes and epidemiology of the disease have evolved in recent decades with a doubling of the average patient age and an increased prevalence in patients with indwelling cardiac devices. The microbiology of the disease has also changed, and staphylococci, most often associated with health-care contact and invasive procedures, have overtaken streptococci as the most common cause of the disease. Although novel diagnostic and therapeutic strategies have emerged, 1 year mortality has not improved and remains at 30%, which is worse than for many cancers. Logistical barriers and an absence of randomised trials hinder clinical management, and longstanding controversies such as use of antibiotic prophylaxis remain unresolved. In this Seminar, we discuss clinical practice, controversies, and strategies needed to target this potentially devastating disease.