Hi my name is Sam and I was born with Tetralogy of Fallot, which was corrected at a year old in 1987 at CHOP by Dr. Norwood. In my research I have found that between the years 1991-2007 there has only been 22 cases of infective endocarditis due to body art. Out of the 22 cases only one case of infective endocarditits was associated with tattoos. The lone case of infective endocarditis was a 28-year-old man with a congenital functionally bicuspid aortic valve who was tattooed monthly for a period of five years. The patient was aware of his congenital heart problem but was unaware of the evident risk of infective endocarditis due to tattooing and consequentially did not seek the proper medical advice or take any infective endocarditis antibiotic prophylaxis. My Cardiologist, though I expected this, said that the antibiotics may confer protection but one can never be too careful or certain that a mishap (infective endocarditis) may occur. When I rock climb, skydive, or surf there are variables that could cause injury or even mortality but because I am educated on the subject I can justify taking the educated risk. I cannot justify getting a tattoo if the chances of having problems with endocarditis are quite evident and substantial. Though in my research I have read that the risk of infective endocarditis is not nearly as high as initially thought to be. What I am trying to say is that I am fully aware of what infective endocarditis is and that there is a greater risk amongst patients with congenital heart defects due to dirty tattoo equipment and having an open wound susceptible to infection. What I don’t completely understand is:
1) What would be the recommended antibiotic cycle when getting a tattoo?
2) Is it comparable to the risk I'm taking getting my teeth cleaned or other similar procedures?
3) What are other precautions other than antibiotic prophylaxis?
It appears that you have done quite a bit of both research and thought into this matter. In the grand scheme of things, the risk of infective endocarditis (IE) in the face of tattooing is very low, but it is not zero. That said, there is not an antibiotic regimen (or "cycle") that is recommended for this procedure, as the American Heart Association feels that the risk associated with this is low (and is probably lower than that of having yoru teeth cleaned). Besides ensuring that the procedure is done with sterile equipment in a location that uses sterile techniques, the most important things that you can do to reduce this risk are 1) take a shower or bath with soap that day and 2) ensure that the skin is well cleaned with some sort of surgical cleaner at the time of the placement of the tattoo. This will significantly reduce the load of bacteria on your skin that could lead to an infection.
The Content on this Site is presented in a summary fashion, and is intended to be used for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended to be and should not be interpreted as medical advice or a diagnosis of any health or fitness problem, condition or disease; or a recommendation for a specific test, doctor, care provider, procedure, treatment plan, product, or course of action. Med Help International, Inc. is not a medical or healthcare provider and your use of this Site does not create a doctor / patient relationship. We disclaim all responsibility for the professional qualifications and licensing of, and services provided by, any physician or other health providers posting on or otherwise referred to on this Site and/or any Third Party Site. Never disregard the medical advice of your physician or health professional, or delay in seeking such advice, because of something you read on this Site. We offer this Site AS IS and without any warranties. By using this Site you agree to the following Terms and Conditions. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your physician or 911 immediately.