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A retrospective review of 149 episodes of bacterial endocarditis (BE) in 141 patients under 25 years of age, at The Children's Hospital Medical Center from 1933 through June of 1972, demonstrates increasing survival and a distinct change in the frequency of underlying congenital heart disease and rheumatic heart disease (RHD). Certain forms of congenital heart disease such as tetralogy of Fallot, small ventricular septal defect, and aortic stenosis are at particular risk for BE. Following BE, patients with ventricular septal defect and tetralogy of Fallot have less morbidity and higher survival rates than children with aortic outflow lesions. Over the entire time period, alpha Streptococcus is the most common pathogen and Staphylococcus aureus, second most frequent organism. Surgical correction in patients with congenital heart disease may offer the best form of prevention.