"Endo-" means inside, "cardiac" refers to your heart, and "-itis" means inflammation. So, endocarditis is inflammation of the inside of your heart.
Infective endocarditis is:
The infection may be on the lining of your heart chambers or on your heart valves.
Infective endocarditis happens when bacteria get into your blood and travel to your heart
Infection can damage heart valves so they don't work right and cause heart failure
Doctors do blood tests and an echocardiogram to see if you have infective endocarditis
Doctors treat infective endocarditis with antibiotics and sometimes heart surgery
If you have an artificial heart valve or a birth defect in your heart, you may need to take antibiotics before surgery or a dental procedure to prevent endocarditis
Infective endocarditis is caused by bacteria or fungi that get into your blood and travel to your heart. Bacteria can get into your blood when you have:
You have a higher risk of getting infective endocarditis if you:
Infective endocarditis usually develops slowly. But sometimes it comes on quickly.
Subacute infective endocarditis is when endocarditis develops slowly, over weeks to months. You gradually develop symptoms such as:
Acute infective endocarditis starts suddenly and you become very ill quickly. One of your heart valves may be severely damaged within days. Symptoms include:
With either type of endocarditis, you may also have:
Sometimes infected material from your heart spreads through your blood to other parts of your body. You may get infections in your lungs, brain, kidneys, or other organs.
Doctors suspect infective endocarditis from your symptoms. To know for sure, they'll do:
Echocardiography (an ultrasound of your heart)
Blood tests to look for bacteria
To prevent infective endocarditis:
If you're at high risk of infective endocarditis, you need to be particularly careful of these things. In addition, some high-risk people may also need to:
Ask your doctor whether you're at high risk.