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Endocarditis facts

  • Endocarditis is an inflammation of the valves of the heart.
  • Endocarditis is often caused by the growth of bacteria on one of the heart valves, leading to a mass known as a vegetation.
  • Symptoms can be nonspecific and include fever, malaise, shortness of breath, and weakness.
  • People with existing diseases of the heart valves and people who have undergone heart valve replacements are at an increased risk of developing endocarditis.
  • The most accurate method of detecting the valve vegetations of endocarditis is with a procedure called transesophageal echocardiography (TEE).
  • The treatment for endocarditis consists of aggressive antibiotics, generally given intravenously, usually for 4 to 6 weeks.
  • The duration and intensity of treatment depends on the severity of the infection and the type of bacterial organism responsible.
  • In severe cases that damage the heart valves, surgical replacement of the valve may be necessary.

What is endocarditis?

Endocarditis is a serious inflammation of one of the four heart valves.

What causes endocarditis?

Endocarditis is caused by a growth of bacteria on one of the heart valves, leading to an infected mass called a "vegetation". The infection may be introduced during brief periods of having bacteria in the bloodstream, such as after dental work, colonoscopy, and other similar procedures.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/16/2013

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