Patients with existing heart valve abnormalities or prosthetic valves are at particular risk of developing infective endocarditis..

These patients should be on prophylactic antibiotics. The British National Formulary contains comprehensive, evidence-based recommendations.

Learning bite

There should be a high index of suspicion of infective endocarditis in any unwell patient with a predisposing factor such as known valve disease, a prosthetic valve or intravenous drug abuse.

Image: Gross pathology of subacute bacterial endocarditis involving mitral valve.