Monday, October 08, 2007

AHA Changes Tune On Antibiotics Ans Dental Work

The American Heart Association (AHA) has revised a long standing recommendation regarding the use of antibiotics prior to any dental work. The AHA now says that antibiotics are not necessary for the masses.

For the past 50 years doctors have recommended taking antibiotics prior to have dental work to reduce the risk of infective endocarditis. It occurs when bacteria reaches the innermost layers of the heart. The rare condition can lead to heart rhythm problems, heart failure and make the heart susceptible to other infections.

The AHA points out that there have been no long term studies to support the use of antibiotics, and the risk of side effects from the drug outweigh any potential benefit. Antibiotics are now only recommended for those patients with artificial heart valves, who had endocarditis in the past, or were born with heart defects.

The full story is published in the Harvard Heart Letter.