Of 582 episodes of infective endocarditis 75 were attributable to organisms normally resident in the bowel and 12 others were associated with alimentary tract operations, investigations, or disease. The mean age of the 87 patients in this particular group was higher (59.7 years) than that of all the patients with infective endocarditis (51.4 years). As far as could be ascertained 41% had no pre-existing cardiac abnormality, and in a little under a half no predisposing event to initiate the illness was apparent. Where the portal of entry of the organism to the blood stream was evident it was slightly more often in the genitourinary than the alimentary tract. Bowel organisms are no less important than those associated with the teeth in causing infective endocarditis. It is suggested that in all those patients with known cardiac abnormalities and possibly in those over the age of 60 with normal hearts antibiotic cover should be considered when they undergo genitourinary or alimentary tract surgery or instrumentation.
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