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Treatment strategies for infective endocarditis.

IMPORTANCE OF THE FIELD: Despite significant advances in medical, surgical, and critical care interventions, infective endocarditis (IE) remains a disease associated with considerable morbidity and mortality. Estimates from the American Heart Association place the incidence of IE in the US at 10,000 - 15,000 new cases each year. This may be due to the changing epidemiology of IE, including increasing antimicrobial resistance, increasing heart surgeries, prosthetic valve implantation, and widespread use of intravenous drugs. Furthermore, a new form of the disease, healthcare-associated IE, which is associated with new therapeutic modalities such as intravenous catheters, hyperalimentation lines, pacemakers, and dialysis shunts, has emerged.

AREAS COVERED IN THIS REVIEW: We present the latest therapeutic and preventive strategies for IE caused by a variety of bacterial and fungal pathogens. The general methods employed included an extensive literature search, confined to the last 10 years, using key words such as 'infective endocarditis', 'culture-negative endocarditis', 'treatment guidelines for IE', and 'prophylaxis for IE'.

WHAT THE READER WILL GAIN: Comprehensive information regarding the changing epidemiology of IE is provided. The latest guidelines with respect to therapy and prophylaxis of IE are reviewed.

TAKE HOME MESSAGE: Successful management of IE depends on maintaining a high index of suspicion for the disease and, when IE is diagnosed, close cooperation of medical and surgical disciplines is required. Further research is needed to better understand and provide optimal therapy for complex situations such as multidrug-resistant and polymicrobial IE.

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