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Doctor insights on: Endocarditis

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Dr. Martin Raff
239 doctors shared insights

Endocarditis (Overview)

An infection of the inner lining of your heart. It generally occurs when bacteria or other germs from another part of your body, such as your mouth, spread through your bloodstream and attach to damaged areas in your heart. Left untreated, endocarditis can damage or destroy your heart valves and can lead to life-threatening complications.


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What is endocarditis?

What is endocarditis?

Heart infection: Infective endocarditis (ie) is an infection of the endocardial surface (lining) of the heart, which may include one or more heart valves, the walls, or a septal defect. People at greatest risk of endocarditis have a damaged heart valve, an artificial heart valve or other heart defects. ...Read more

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Dr. Martin Raff
239 doctors shared insights

Endocarditis (Overview)

An infection of the inner lining of your heart. It generally occurs when bacteria or other germs from another part of your body, such as your mouth, spread through your bloodstream and attach to damaged areas in your heart. Left untreated, endocarditis can damage or destroy your heart valves and can lead to life-threatening complications.


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What causes endocarditis?

What causes endocarditis?

Infection: Bacteria are on #1 on the list, but fungus can do it too. Humans don't get heart worms, thank goodness. Viruses cause other kinds of mischief in the heart. ...Read more

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How is endocarditis treated?

How is endocarditis treated?

Antibiotics: Antibiotics are the mainstay of therapy. Depending on the specifics, surgery may also be necessary (valve replacement). ...Read more

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How is endocarditis diagnosed?

How is endocarditis diagnosed?

Fever, murmur: It is difficult to know for sure some times but if there is fever with elevated sedimentation rate with a positive blood clture in a patient with a murmur an abnormal heart valve which may or may not cause congestive heart failure. An echocardiogram. May show the vegetations in the valve. The history helps...Most common in HIV patients IV drug users, or elderly pts. ...Read more

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Who is at risk for endocarditis?

Who is at risk for endocarditis?

Endocarditis: Biggrst at risk individuals are those with congenitally abnormal or prosthetic valves. Also individuals with recurrent bacterial blood infections (e.g. Iv drug users). Confirmed by echocardiography. ...Read more

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How can endocarditis be diagnosed?

How can endocarditis be diagnosed?

Clinical findings: Endocarditis is an inflammation of the inside lining of the heart and often caused by a bacterial infection. It can be acute or subacute. The diagnosis is not made by any one test. Clinical examination can show certain physical features. Blood culture can identify a blood infection. Ecg and cardiac ultrasound can be useful to evaluate effects of the infection on the heart valves and muscle. ...Read more

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What are symptoms of endocarditis?

Multiple: Fever, skin hemorrhages especially under the nails, blood in urine, heart failure, weakness and pain in locations affected by thrombo-emboli from the cardiac vegetations. ...Read more

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What are the symptoms of endocarditis?

What are the symptoms of endocarditis?

Many: Fever, weakness, shortness of breath, loss of appetite, weight loss. Signs include anemia, new or changing heart murmur, peripheral emboli and hematuria. Diagnosis is made by blood culture and/or demonstration of valvular vegetations on echocardiography. ...Read more

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What body systems does endocarditis effects?

What body systems does endocarditis effects?

Endocarditis: read this: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/endocarditis/basics/definition/con-20022403

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How does endocarditis make you sick exactly?

How  does endocarditis make you sick exactly?

It's an infection: Endocarditis is an infection of the inside layer of the heart frequently including the heart valves. It can be acute with rapid distraction of the vales leading to heart failure. Chronic is slow and may present as on and off fevers and weakness antibiotics can resolve some before the valves are destroyed. ...Read more

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Can someone with endocarditis fully recover ?

Can someone with endocarditis fully recover ?

Yes: As long as the heart valve is not severely damaged, you may make a complete recovery without surgery. ...Read more

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Does endocarditis usually cause many symptoms?

Yes: Endocarditis, or infection of a heart valve, is a serious illness. In its acute form, there may be high fever, chills and sweats, generalized weakness, arrhythmias and heart failure. The subacute form is subtler and may gradually cause anemia, weakness, night sweats, weight loss, fatigue, depression and eventually heart failure. Either form is potentially lethal. If suspected, it needs evaluation. ...Read more

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How common is it for somebody to get endocarditis?

Rare: From the perspective of the general public, it's a rare disease. Risk factors are intravenous drug abuse and poor dental hygiene. People who have developed a blood infection (septicemia) from any cause at are increased risk. People with underlying structural abnormalities of their valves or artificial valves are at higher risk. ...Read more

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How long does endocarditis take to become irreversible?

How long does endocarditis take to become irreversible?

Highly variable : Endocarditis is usually treatable with antibiotics. If refractory, the infected structure (usually a valve) may need to be surgically removed. Some forms of endocarditis ("sub-acute bacterial endocarditis") can be present for months with mild symptoms but is still reversible. Depends on the bug, the drug, and the condition of the patient. ...Read more

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Why are IV drug users more susceptible to endocarditis?

Dirty/reused needles: When you are more focused on getting the drug into your vein than the equipment you use it increases your risk. Drug addicts pay little attention to sanitizing the skin and using germ free needles to inject the drug. Anytime a germ has a chance to enter your body through poor hygiene you may develop endocarditis. ...Read more

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Why are IV drug users more susceptible to endocarditis?

Dirty needles: Endocarditis is more likely to occur when there are a lot of bacteria in the blood stream. Iv drug abusers break their skin frequently; the skin acts as a normal barrier to infection. Also, if sterile technique is not used (which it rarely is), bacteria are introduced directly into the blood stream. In addition, the immune system of drug addicts is often compromised. ...Read more

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Would I know for sure if I had Endocarditis? How would I know?

Echocardiogram: the ideal test to rule out endocarditis is transesophageal echocardiogram, along with blood cultures in appropriate settings. but you can start with a standard 2 dimensional echocardiogram ...Read more

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Is it possible to have endocarditis for several months and not know?

Not likely but....: If you are for some reason not sensitive to annoying symptoms and tend to deny problems it's possible. Now is the earliest possible time to get this treated, so do it! You can read about it online, like here: http://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/tc/endocarditis-topic-overview#1 Be careful - be wise - be treated! Best wishes! ...Read more