• Endocarditis


    The endocardium is the inner lining of the heart muscle. Endocarditis is an infection of this lining and the heart valves.


    Causes of endocarditis include:
    • Bacterial infection —the most common cause
    • Viral or fungal infection
    • Medical conditions that result in blood clotting too easily, causing a noninfectious form
    Bacterial Endocarditis
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    Risk Factors

    Factors that may increase your risk of endocarditis include:


    Symptoms of endocarditis include:
    • Fever, chills
    • Weakness, low energy
    • Sweatiness, especially at night
    • Shortness of breath
    • Cough
    • Loss of appetite, weight loss
    • Chest pain
    • Abdominal pain
    • Nausea and vomiting
    • Painful red bumps on the fingers and toes
    • Purple dots on the whites of the eyes, under the fingernails, and over the collarbone
    • Painful red patches on the fingers, palms, and soles


    The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. The doctor will check your heart for unusual heart sounds. These are called heart murmurs .
    Tests include:


    Treatment may include:
    • Antibiotics—given by IV for up to 4-8 weeks
    • Surgery—to repair or replace the valve if it is severely damaged or has caused heart failure


    If you have a high risk of infection:
    • You may need to take antibiotics before certain dental or medical procedures.
    • Talk to your dentist or doctor before the procedure.
    The American Heart Association guidelines recommend that preventive antibiotic therapy should be considered for individuals with the following cardiac conditions:
    • Various forms of congenital heart defects
    • Artificial heart valves
    • History of endocarditis
    • Heart transplant recipients who have developed valve disease
    Avoiding illicit IV drugs will also decrease your risk of infection.


    American Heart Association http://www.heart.org

    Mouth Healthy—American Dental Association http://www.mouthhealthy.org


    Canadian Dental Association http://www.cda-adc.ca

    Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada http://www.heartandstroke.com


    Infective endocarditis. American Heart Association website. Available at: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/CongenitalHeartDefects/TheImpactofCongenitalHeartDefects/Infective-Endocarditis%5FUCM%5F307108%5FArticle.jsp. Updated March 20, 2013. Accessed March 20, 2013.

    Infective endocarditis. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T113919/Infective-endocarditis. Updated April 20, 2016. Accessed September 28, 2016.

    12/17/2015 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T113919/Infective-endocarditis: Wilson W, Taubert KA, et al. Prevention of infective endocarditis. Guidelines from the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2007;116(15):1736-1754.

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