We sought to provide a contemporary picture of the presentation, etiology, and outcome of infective endocarditis (IE) in a large patient cohort from multiple locations worldwide. Prospective cohort study of 2781 adults with definite IE who were admitted to 58 hospitals in 25 countries from June 1, 2000, through September 1, 2005. The median age of the cohort was 57.9 (interquartile range, 43.2-71.8) years, and 72.1% had native valve IE. Most patients (77.0%) presented early in the disease (<30 days) with few of the classic clinical hallmarks of IE. Recent health care exposure was found in one-quarter of patients. Staphylococcus aureus was the most common pathogen (31.2%). The mitral (41.1%) and aortic (37.6%) valves were infected most commonly. The following complications were common: stroke (16.9%), embolization other than stroke (22.6%), heart failure (32.3%), and intracardiac abscess (14.4%). Surgical therapy was common (48.2%), and in-hospital mortality remained high (17.7%). Prosthetic valve involvement (odds ratio, 1.47; 95% confidence interval, 1.13-1.90), increasing age (1.30; 1.17-1.46 per 10-year interval), pulmonary edema (1.79; 1.39-2.30), S aureus infection (1.54; 1.14-2.08), coagulase-negative staphylococcal infection (1.50; 1.07-2.10), mitral valve vegetation (1.34; 1.06-1.68), and paravalvular complications (2.25; 1.64-3.09) were associated with an increased risk of in-hospital death, whereas viridans streptococcal infection (0.52; 0.33-0.81) and surgery (0.61; 0.44-0.83) were associated with a decreased risk. In the early 21st century, IE is more often an acute disease, characterized by a high rate of S aureus infection. Mortality remains relatively high.