• Twenty-six cases of infective endocarditis seen at autopsy during the first decade of life, between 1911 and 1944, are compared with seven fatal cases between 1944 and 1977. The incidence of infective endocarditis at autopsy in this age-group has decreased since 1944 (0.60% to 0.23%). Before 1944, Gram-positive cocci were most frequently responsible. Rheumatic heart disease (31%) more often predisposed to infective endocarditis than did congenital heart disease and left-sided valves were most frequently involved. Peripheral septic foci and pneumonia were the most frequent sources of infection. The introduction of penicillin and advances in cardiology and cardiovascular surgery have had considerable impact on the spectrum and evolution of the disease. Fungi and uncommon opportunistic bacteria are now frequently encountered. Rheumatic heart disease rarely predisposes to infective endocarditis in this age-group, congenital heart disease being the major underlying disease.
(Am J Dis Child 133:619-622, 1979)