Endocarditis, also called infective endocarditis (IE), is an inflammation of the inner lining of the heart. The most common type, bacterial endocarditis, occurs when germs enter your heart. These germs come through your bloodstream from another part of your body, often your mouth. Bacterial endocarditis can damage your heart valves. If untreated, it can be life-threatening. It is rare in healthy hearts.

Risk factors include having

The signs and symptoms of IE can vary from person to person. They also can vary over time in the same person. Symptoms you might notice include fever, shortness of breath, fluid buildup in your arms or legs, tiny red spots on your skin, and weight loss. Your doctor will diagnose IE based on your risk factors, medical history, signs and symptoms, and lab and heart tests.

Early treatment can help you avoid complications. Treatment usually involves high-dose antibiotics. If your heart valve is damaged, you may need surgery.

If you're at risk for IE, brush and floss your teeth regularly, and have regular dental checkups. Germs from a gum infection can enter your bloodstream. If you are at high risk, your doctor might prescribe antibiotics before dental work and certain types of surgery.

NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

Symptoms of Endocarditis

The following features are indicative of Endocarditis:
  • fever
  • chills
  • sweating
  • fatigue
  • weakness
  • aches and pains in the joints or muscles
  • small areas of bleeding under the nails
  • Janeway lesions
  • Osler's nodes
  • shortness of breath with activity
  • swelling of legs, feet and abdomen

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Common Causes of Endocarditis

The following are the most common causes of Endocarditis:
  • staphylococcus aureus bacteria
  • candida albicans fungi
  • histoplasma capsulatum
  • aspergillus fungi
  • birth defect of the heart
  • damaged or abnormal heart valve
  • history of endocarditis
  • new heart valve after surgery
  • central venous access lines

Other Causes of Endocarditis

The following are the less common causes of Endocarditis:
  • use of unsterile needles for injection
  • recent dental surgery

Risk Factors for Endocarditis

The following factors may increase the likelihood of Endocarditis:
  • congenital heart defects
  • artificial heart valves
  • heart valves damaged by calcium deposits or rheumatic fever
  • shared or reused needles for injection
  • skin is not properly cleaned before injection

Prevention of Endocarditis

Yes, it may be possible to prevent Endocarditis. Prevention may be possible by doing the following:
  • regularly brush and floss teeth
  • avoid body piercing and tattoos

Occurrence of Endocarditis

Number of Cases

The following are the number of Endocarditis cases seen each year worldwide:
  • Not common between 50K - 500K cases

Common Age Group

Endocarditis can occur at any age.

Common Gender

Endocarditis can occur in any gender.

Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of Endocarditis

The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect Endocarditis:
  • Blood tests: To diagnose endocarditis
  • Echocardiography: To create pictures of the heart
  • Electrocardiogram: To detects the heart's electrical activity

Doctor for Diagnosis of Endocarditis

Patients should visit the following specialists if they have symptoms of Endocarditis:
  • Cardiologist
  • Infectious disease specialist

Complications of Endocarditis if untreated

Yes, Endocarditis causes complications if it is not treated. Below is the list of complications and problems that may arise if Endocarditis is left untreated:
  • stroke and organ damage
  • infections in other parts of the body
  • heart failure

Procedures for Treatment of Endocarditis

The following procedures are used to treat Endocarditis:
  • Surgery: To treat persistent infections or to replace a damaged valve

Medicines for Endocarditis

Below is the list of medicines used for Endocarditis:

Self-care for Endocarditis

The following self-care actions or lifestyle changes may help in the treatment or management of Endocarditis:
  • Avoid procedures that may lead to skin infections: Helps in preventing endocarditis
  • Pay special attention to your dental health: Helps in preventing endocarditis

Time for Treatment of Endocarditis

While time-period of treatment for each patient may vary, below is the typical time-period for Endocarditis to resolve if treated properly under an expert supervision:
  • In 1 - 3 months

Is Endocarditis Infectious?

Yes, Endocarditis is known to be infectious. It can spread across people via the following means:
  • catheters or needles
  • everyday oral activities
  • sexually transmitted infection
  • certain dental procedures

Related Topics

Last updated date

This page was last updated on 2/04/2019.
This page provides information for Endocarditis.

Related Topics

Heart Diseases

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