Endocarditis is an infection of the endocardium or the inner lining of the heart chambers and heart valves. Infective endocarditis is a rare disease caused due to germs entering a person’s bloodstream, which then travels to the heart and attaches to heart valves or damaged heart tissue.
Certain types of bacteria and fungi are held responsible for endocarditis. People at highest risk of endocarditis are those who have conditions such as implanted artificial heart valves, the person born with certain types of heart defects, a history of endocarditis, damaged heart valves, and a history of illegal use of drug through injections.
Signs And Symptoms
- Flu-like symptoms, such as fever and chills
- A new or changed heart murmur
- Aching joints and muscles
- Night sweats
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Swelling in the feet, legs or abdomen
Diagnosis And Treatment
The doctor may advise several tests including blood tests, echocardiogram, ECG, Chest x-ray and CT scan. Many cases of endocarditis are successfully treated with antibiotics.
Sometimes, a surgery may be required to fix damaged heart valves and clean up any remaining signs of the infection. Endocarditis can be prevented by regular dental healthcare and regular dental checkups. Additionally, it is essential to avoid skin infections from activities such as body piercing or tattoos.