Author(s): Barco CT
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Abstract This paper is a review of what is presently known about the cause and prevention of infective endocarditis. Systemic antibiotics alone are not always enough for an effective prevention of infective endocarditis. Non-streptococcus bacteria frequently found in the periodontal pocket are now reported as causing infective endocarditis; these bacteria are not uniformly susceptible to the antibiotics recommended for prophylaxis. Animal studies indicate that periodontal disease does increase the incidence of infective endocarditis and that the number of microbes entering the blood stream may not be as important in the production of infective endocarditis as other qualities, such as the microbe's ability to adhere. Antibiotics may affect the ability of a microorganism to adhere to tissues of the heart, but this association is yet unclear and may vary with the antibiotic and species of bacteria. Reduction of inflammation of the periodontal tissues is of the utmost importance in the prevention of infective endocarditis; however, mouthrinses have a very limited effect in a periodontal pocket of more than 3 mm in depth and irrigation of a periodontal pocket may create a dangerous bacteremia. Nevertheless, in addition to systemic antibiotics, local antimicrobial agents followed by routine dental treatment and maintenance show promise as an effective means for the prevention of infective endocarditis. Future research in the prevention of infective endocarditis should include placement of antimicrobials in the periodontal pocket and systemic agents that reduce platelet adhesion. The suggestions presented in this review are only recommendations for further research and are not to be construed as a substitute for the current guidelines.
This article was published in J Periodontol
and referenced in Journal of Clinical Case Reports