Infective endocarditis is relatively uncommon in childhood, but its epidemiology has changed in the past three to four decades and its incidence has been increasing in recent years. With the improved survival rates of children with congenital heart diseases and the overall decreased frequency of rheumatic valvular heart disease in developed countries, congenital cardiac abnormalities now represent the predominant underlying condition for infective endocarditis in children over the age of two years in Western Europe and Northern America. Moreover, the complex management of neonatal and pediatric intensive care unit patients has increased the risk of catheter-related endocarditis. More specifically, the surgical correction of congenital heart alterations is associated with the risk of postoperative infections. Endocarditis in children may be difficult to diagnosis and manage. Emerging resistant bacteria, such as methicillin- or vancomycin-resistant staphylococci and vancomycin-resistant enterococci, are becoming a new challenge for conventional antibiotic therapy. Newer antimicrobial compounds recently introduced in clinical practice, such as streptogramins and oxazolidinones, may be effective alternatives in children with endocarditis sustained by Gram-positive cocci resistant to glycopeptides. Home intravenous therapy has become an acceptable approach for stable patients who are at low risk for embolic complications. However, further clinical studies are needed in order to assess efficacy and safety of these antimicrobial agents in children. This review should help outline the most appropriate antimicrobial treatments for infective endocarditis in children.

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