Antibiotic Prophylaxis Guidelines to Prevent Bacterial Endocarditis

ucm_317435 (1)The American Heart Association has released new guidelines for patients with certain heart conditions.  For years the AHA recommended patients take antibiotics before dental treatment to prevent infective endocarditis.

In April 2007, the latest guidelines were published and there is good news.  The AHA no longer recommends these patients take short term antibiotics.  These new guidelines were based on scientific findings that the risks outweigh the benefits of taking antibiotics.  Furthermore, no scientific evidence was found that taking antibiotics before dental procedures prevents infective endocarditis. Preventive antibiotics are still recommended for certain patients, including those with:

  • artificial heart valves
  • a history of infective endocarditis
  • certain serious, congenital heart conditions
  • a cardiac transplantation that develops a problem in a heart valve

Read the full article from the ADA here.  For more information visit

view the current version of the guidelines.

For a closer look view this video:

Additional resources:


Summary of 9 Iterations of AHA Recommended Antibiotic Regimens from 1955 to 1997 for Dental/Respiratory Tract Procedures

Primary Reasons for Revision of the IE Prophylaxis Guidelines

Cardiac Conditions Associated with the Highest Risk of Adverse Outcome from Endocarditis for Which Prophylaxis with Dental Procedures Is Recommended

Dental Procedures for which Endocarditis Prophylaxis is Recommended for Patients in Table 3

Regimens for a Dental Procedure

Summary of Major Changes in Updated Document

Premedication – Preventative Antibiotics

Minimum Age Requirement for Dental Implants
Ultrasonic Scalers for Periodontal Treatment