Endocarditis

Endocarditis
Endocarditis

Endocarditis, also known as infective endocarditis can be life-threatening and cause inflammation of the wall of the chambers as well as valves (endocardium).

Endocarditis usually occurs due to an infection. Bacteria, fungi, or other bacteria that come from another part within your body like your mouth, can travel throughout your bloodstream, and then attach to damaged parts of your heart. If not addressed promptly, endocarditis could harm or ruin the heart valves. Treatments for endocarditis can include medication and, occasionally, surgical intervention.

People who are most susceptible to endocarditis are those with damaged heart valves or artificial heart valves. other heart defects¹.

 

Symptoms

The development of endocarditis can be slow or abruptly, depending on the germs that are responsible for the infection and if there are any existing heart issues. The signs and symptoms of endocarditis may differ from one person to the next.

The most common indications and signs of endocarditis are:

Common signs and symptoms of endocarditis could be:

When should you seek medical help?

If you are experiencing symptoms or signs of an endocarditis you should see your doctor immediately and especially in the event that you have risk factors for this serious infection like an abnormal heart or a previous history of endocarditis. While less serious ailments may produce similar symptoms and signs but you can’t be certain until you’ve been evaluated by your physician.

When you’ve received a diagnosis of an endocarditis infection, discuss with your doctor any symptoms or signs that could indicate your condition is becoming worse, including:

If you’re receiving antibiotics for endocarditis, inform your doctor if there is diarrhea or a rash, joint pain or itching. These symptoms and signs could indicate that you’re experiencing a reaction to the prescribed antibiotic.

Causes

The term “endocarditis” refers to the situation when bacteria, typically infiltrate your bloodstream. They move to your heart and then attach to heart valves, or damaged tissue. Other germs or fungi could cause endocarditis.

Usually the immune system is able to eliminate all harmful bacteria that get into your bloodstream. However, the bacteria that reside in your throat, mouth or in other areas that are part of you, including your skin or your digestive tract may result in endocarditis under certain conditions.

Bacteria, fungi, and other bacteria that cause endocarditis could get into your bloodstream through:

Risk factors

Normal heart chambers
  Chambers and valves of the heart

It is more likely that you will develop endocarditis if you suffer from faulty or damaged or diseased heart valves. But, it can also occur in people who are otherwise healthy.

There is a higher risk of contracting endocarditis when you are:

In the event that you’re in danger for developing endocarditis be sure to let your physicians be aware. It’s possible to request an endocarditis wallet card through the American Heart Association. Find your local chapter, or print the card through the website of the association.

Complications

In the case of endocarditis, clumps of cells and germs create an abnormal mass inside your heart. The clumps, also known as vegetations, may break loose and then travel to your lungs, brain organs in your abdomen kidneys, legs and arms.

This is why endocarditis can lead to a variety of complications, for example:

Prevention

Follow these steps to avoid endocarditis:

Antibiotics that prevent infection

Certain dental or medical procedures could let bacteria into your bloodstream.

If you’re at a high risk of developing endocarditis, American Heart Association recommends taking antibiotics at least an hour prior to getting any dental procedure performed.

There is a higher risk of developing endocarditis and require antibiotics prior to your dental procedure If you suffer from:

If you are suffering from endocarditis, or another type of congenital heart disease, speak to your dentist or doctor about the risks you face and whether you’ll need preventive antibiotics.

Diagnosis

Your doctor will take into consideration the medical history of you, symptoms and signs, as well as the results of your tests when making an endocarditis diagnosis. The diagnosis will usually be dependent on a variety of variables instead of just a single positive test result or a symptom.

Tests to rule out or confirm endocarditis can include:

Treatment

A lot of people suffering from endocarditis can be successfully treated by antibiotics. Sometimes, surgery might be needed to repair or repair damaged heart valves, and remove any symptoms of the infection.

Medications

The kind of medication you take depends on the condition at the root of the issue.

The high levels of IV anti-biotics can be used to treat endocarditis that is caused by bacteria. If you are treated with the IV treatment, expect to usually be spending a week or more in the hospital, so that your doctor can confirm if your treatment is effective.

If your fever and obvious signs or symptoms are gone and you’re able quit the hospital and carry on IV antibiotics by visiting your doctor’s office or your home using home care. It is common to take antibiotics for some time to treat the infection.

If the cause of endocarditis is an infection that causes fungal inflammation the doctor will prescribe antifungal medications. Certain people require lifelong antifungal medication to prevent endocarditis from coming back.

Surgery

The procedure of repairing the heart valve is required to treat chronic endocarditis or to replace the damaged valve. Surgery is sometimes also required to treat endocarditis caused by a fungal infection.

In the event of a medical condition depending on your condition, your doctor may suggest fixing your damaged valve, and replacing the valve with a replacement valve that is made of human, cow or pig cardiac tissue (biological tissue valve) or man-made substances (prosthetic mechanical valve).

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