Daniel Lee Kulick, MD, FACC, FSCAI
Dr. Kulick received his undergraduate and medical degrees from the University of Southern California, School of Medicine. He performed his residency in internal medicine at the Harbor-University of California Los Angeles Medical Center and a fellowship in the section of cardiology at the Los Angeles County-University of Southern California Medical Center. He is board certified in Internal Medicine and Cardiology.
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
In this Article
- Endocarditis facts*
- What is endocarditis?
- What causes endocarditis?
- What are the symptoms of endocarditis?
- Who is at risk for endocarditis?
- How is endocarditis diagnosed?
- How is endocarditis treated?
- Find a local Cardiologist in your town
Who is at risk for endocarditis?
People with existing diseases of the heart valves (aortic stenosis, mitral stenosis, mitral regurgitation, etc.) and people who have undergone heart valve replacements are at an increased risk of developing endocarditis. These people are usually given antibiotics prior to any procedure which may introduce bacteria into the bloodstream. This includes routine dental work, minor surgery, and procedures that may traumatize body tissues such as colonoscopy and gynecologic or urologic examinations. Examples of antibiotics used include oral amoxicillin (Amoxil) and erythromycin (Emycin, Eryc,PCE), as well as intramuscular or intravenous ampicillin, gentamicin, and vancomycin.
How is endocarditis diagnosed?
The infection on the valve can cause build up of nodules on the valves called "vegetations". These valve vegetations can be detected by echocardiography (an ultrasound examination of the heart). The most accurate method of detecting valve vegetations is with a procedure called transesophageal echocardiography (TEE). In this procedure an echo-transducer is placed on the tip of a flexible endoscope. The endoscope is inserted through the mouth into the esophagus. The transducer at the tip of the endoscope is then able to take sound wave "pictures" of the heart valves located adjacent to the lower esophagus. It is important to realize that endocarditis may exist without visible vegetations on the heart valve; the exact diagnosis is made by the identification of bacteria in a blood culture, in the appropriate clinical setting.
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