What is infective endocarditis?
Infective endocarditis is infection of the inside of your heart.
The infection may be on the lining of your heart chambers or on your heart valves.
Infective endocarditis happens when bacteria get into your blood and travel to your heart
Doctors treat infective endocarditis with antibiotics and sometimes heart surgery
If you have an artificial heart valve or a birth defect in your heart, you may need to take antibiotics before surgery or a dental procedure to prevent endocarditis
What causes infective endocarditis?
Infective endocarditis is caused by bacteria or fungi that get into your blood and travel to your heart. Bacteria can get into your blood when you have:
Certain kinds of surgery or dental procedures
An IV for a long time
You have a higher risk of getting infective endocarditis if you:
What are the symptoms of infective endocarditis?
Infective endocarditis usually develops slowly. But sometimes it comes on quickly.
Subacute infective endocarditis is when endocarditis develops slowly, over weeks to months. You gradually develop symptoms such as:
Low fever (99° to 101° F or 37.2° to 38.3° C)
Acute infective endocarditis starts suddenly and you become very ill quickly. One of your heart valves may be severely damaged within days. Symptoms include:
High fever (102° to 104° F or 38.9° to 40° C)
With either type of endocarditis, you may also have:
Painful lumps under your skin
Sometimes infected material from your heart spreads through your blood to other parts of your body. You may get infections in your lungs, brain, kidneys, or other organs.
How can doctors tell if I have infective endocarditis?
How do doctors treat infective endocarditis?
Doctors treat infective endocarditis using:
Antibiotics, given by vein (IV), for at least 2 weeks and up to 8 weeks
Sometimes, heart surgery to fix or replace a damaged heart valve
How can I prevent infective endocarditis?
To prevent infective endocarditis:
Don't inject recreational drugs
Treat infections quickly
Take good care of your teeth and gums
If you're at high risk of infective endocarditis, you need to be particularly careful of these things. In addition, some high-risk people may also need to:
Take antibiotics before certain dental or surgical procedures that can let bacteria into the body
Ask your doctor whether you're at high risk.