Endocarditis

infection/ inflammation in the innerlining of your heart.

What is Endocarditis?

Endocarditis occurs when there is infection or inflammation in the innerlining of the heart, which is called the endocardium. This heart disease can effect both children and adults, but it is more common in men than women. People with prior heart problems are more prone to getting the infection.

Symptoms (varies)

  • Fever & chills
  • New heart murmur
  • Fatigue
  • Aching joints & muscles
  • Shortness of breath
  • Persistent cough
  • Blood in your urine
  • Osler's nodes — red, tender spots under the skin of your fingers
  • Petechiae — small purple or red spots on the skin, whites of your eyes or inside your mouth

Diagnosis

Various tests may be necessary for the diagnosis:

  • Blood tests. This test can identify bacteria in the bloodstream. Blood tests can identify certain conditions, including anemia — a shortage of healthy red blood cells that can be a sign of endocarditis.
  • Transesophageal echocardiogram. An echocardiogram uses sound waves to produce images of your heart at work. This type of echocardiogram allows for a closer look at your heart valves.
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG). During an ECG, sensors that can detect the electrical activity of your heart are attached to your chest. An ECG measures the timing and duration of each electrical phase in your heartbeat.

  • Chest X-ray. X-ray images help your doctor view the condition of your lungs and heart. The images are able to show how endocarditis has effected your heart or check to see if the infection has spread to your lungs.

  • Computerized tomography (CT) scan or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). A CT or MRI scan of your brain, chest or other parts of your body may be tested if your doctor thinks that infection has spread.

Treatment Methods

  • The first line of treatment is antibiotics. The antibiotics can be administered through an IV and orally.
  • If heart valves are affected by the infection, surgery is necessary to treat persistent infection or to replace a damaged valve.

Prognosis

With proper care and prompt diagnosis over 90% of patients recover.
  • Those whose endocarditis affects their right side have a better outlook than those whose endocarditis affects their left side.

Complications of having endocarditis are...
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Floating blood clots (emboli)
  • Kidney problems
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Emily and Alexandra