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Infective endocarditis in children

Sharon E O'Brien, MD
Section Editors
David R Fulton, MD
Morven S Edwards, MD
Deputy Editor
Carrie Armsby, MD, MPH


Infective endocarditis (IE) is an infection of the endocardium and/or heart valves that involves thrombus formation (vegetation), which may damage the endocardial tissue and/or valves. Although uncommon in children, it is important to identify and treat IE because of its significant morbidity and mortality. Prompt diagnosis, rapid treatment, and recognition of complications are imperative for optimal patient outcomes.

IE is also referred to as bacterial endocarditis because bacteria are the predominant microbial pathogens. IE is used in this review to include both bacterial and fungal endocarditis.

Many aspects of IE are similar in children and adults, but there are some manifestations that are unique to children. An overview of IE in children is presented here. A number of other topics address particular issues in detail, some of which will be addressed here for children:

Antibiotic prophylaxis of IE (see "Antimicrobial prophylaxis for bacterial endocarditis")

Antimicrobial therapy for IE (see "Antimicrobial therapy of native valve endocarditis" and "Antimicrobial therapy of prosthetic valve endocarditis")


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Literature review current through: Sep 2016. | This topic last updated: Nov 2, 2015.
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