Hospital survey of antimicrobial prophylaxis to prevent endocarditis in patients with prosthetic heart valves

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      The American Heart Association (AHA) has published guidelines for use of prophylactic antibiotics to prevent bacterial endocarditis, but few data are available about physician compliance with these guidelines. A retrospective review was conducted of the use of prophylactic antibiotics in patients with prosthetic heart valves who were undergoing diagnostic or operative procedures or heart catheterization at three hospitals. Compliance with AHA recommendations was only 30 percent (14 of 46) for procedures considered high risk for patients with prosthetic heart valves. Six (23 percent) of 26 patients who underwent right or left heart catheterization received prophylactic antibiotics (not recommended by AHA). Antibiotics were given to 42 (74 percent) of 57 patients who underwent surgical procedures considered at low risk of bacteremia, but only 33 (58 percent) received antibiotics that cover organisms commonly present at the site of the procedure. The results indicate that clinicians frequently do not administer prophylactic antibiotics in patients with prosthetic heart valves who are undergoing invasive procedures or do not follow published AHA guidelines when antibiotics are administered.
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