BACKGROUND Infective endocarditis morbidity remains high: 3 to 8 cases per 100,000 of population. Antibiotic therapy is ineffective. Its surgical treatment experience is relatively limited. AIM To share the surgical treatment experience of 855 patients with acute infective valvular endocarditis (AIVE) treated during 1982 to 2000 in the Institute of Cardiovascular Surgery AMS, Ukraine. MATERIALS AND METHODS 855 (75.4%) of 1128 hospitalized patients with AIVE were operated upon. Surgical interventions included removal of diseased tissues, heart chambers treatment with antiseptic solutions, wash out with normal saline solution, replacement or plastic procedure of valves. RESULTS Heart abscesses were found in 132 (15.5%) patients. Hospital mortality was after aortic valve replacement 12.6%; mitral valve replacement 9.7%; plastic procedure on mitral valve 0%; aortic and mitral valve replacement 30%; tricuspid valve replacement 15.4%; and plastic procedure on tricuspid valve 6.1%. Recurrences of infective process occurred in 51 (6.0%) patients. Infections were observed more frequently in patients with heart abscesses: 10.6% versus 5.7% (p < 0.02). RESULTS 716 (96.7%) patients were studied 2 to 194 (87.4+/-39.4) months postoperatively. Tenth year postoperative survival was 62.1+/-27.7% including hospital mortality. CONCLUSIONS (1) AIVE has become one of the most frequent causes of acquired heart lesions in the postChernobyl nuclear power station catastrophe era. (2) Heart failure development in postoperative period is stipulated by the disease duration. (3) Presence of heart abscesses favors recurrence of development of infective endocarditis. (4) Postoperative antibiotic therapy for more than 3 weeks does not help in prevention of recurrences.