SUMMARY The results of surgical and non-surgical treatment of active infective endocarditis in 182 patients over a 10-year period were analyzed. Heart failure, annular and myocardial abscesses, heart block, and coronary embolism, seen most frequently with staphylococcal and fungal endocarditis, were the primary causes of death in both native valve endocarditis (NVE) and prosthetic valve endocarditis (PVE). In NVE, surgery significantly improved the survival in patients with moderate or severe heart failure (P < 0.05) and in all patients with staphylococcal endocarditis (P < 0.03). In PVE, surgery significantly influenced survival in patients with moderate or severe heart failure (P < 0.05) and in the entire group with late PVE (P < 0.01). Early surgery is recommended for patients with native valve endocarditis and moderate or severe heart failure; those patients with staphylococcal NVE, regardless of hemodynamic state, should undergo early valve replacement. Early surgery is recommended for PVE patients with moderate or severe heart failure. We also recommend early valve replacement for early and late staphylococcal PVE.