Heart infections on the rise, Sheffield study finds

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More dental patients are being diagnosed with a serious heart infection since official guidelines were brought in saying antibiotics should not be prescribed to patients at risk of the condition, Sheffield researchers have found.

The study was carried out by scientists at Sheffield University, following advice from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence in 2008 which recommended dentists should no longer give antibiotics before treating people considered at risk of infective endocarditis.

In 40 per cent of patients, the condition is caused by bacteria from the mouth.

The research team, led by Prof Martin Thornhill from the university’s dentistry school, found there were an extra 35 cases per month by March 2013.