Why does heart surgery mean you need antibiotics for other surgery?

01 April 2007

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Question

Why do some people who have had heart surgery have to take antibiotics when they have dental surgery?

Answer

If someone has a leaky valve or a very narrow valve, they may need a heart valve operation where either an animal valve or a special metal valve is put inside the body. If someone has a dental procedure, we know that the bugs from the mouth can spread around the body and those bugs can seed around the heart valve. Antibiotics are given at the time of a dental procedure to people who have had heart valve surgery to prevent that seeding from occurring.

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