Sheffield University’s research into the effects of antibiotics on patients with heart conditions has brought about changes to the national dentistry guidelines. The research was funded by the charity Heart Research UK, and conducted by Professor Martin Thornhill.
The original guidelines, recommended by the national health body NICE, stated that patients ‘at risk’ of heart conditions should not receive antibiotics when undergoing dental treatment. The research carried out by Profession Thornhill and the University’s School of Clinical Dentistry investigated whether or not patients who are classed as ‘at risk’ of the condition should be routinely given antibiotics during treatment. Their findings showed an increase in the life threatening condition ‘infective endocarditis’ since the original guidelines were recommended back in 2008.
Following the findings, NICE had decided not to change the guidelines, however, due to pressure from academic staff and Heart Research UK, the national health body decided to change their recommendations in line with the new research. Professor Thornhill was quoted by the Sheffield Star as saying, “This change is most welcome. It lifts the ban on giving antibiotic prophylaxis to protect patients at risk of endocarditis and permits dentists and cardiologists to act in the best interests of patients at greatest risk of this devastating disease by providing them with the protection that is standard care in the rest of the world.”