Information about Infective Endocarditis
We have to know about Infective Endocarditis
- Infectious endocarditis is an infection of the lining of the heart chambers and heart valves, caused by bacteria, fungi, or other infectious agents.
Causes of Infective Endocarditis
- Most people who develop infectious endocarditis have underlying heart disease.
- Endocarditis is usually a result of bacteremia (bacteria in the blood), which is common during dental, upper respiratory, urologic, and lower gastrointestinal diagnostic and surgical procedures.
- The bacteria in the bloodstream can settle on damaged heart valves, and grow to create a “vegetation” or clump of live bacteria.
- These growths may form infected clots that break off and travel to the brain, lungs, kidneys, or spleen.
- Many bacteria can cause endocarditis in patients with underlying valve problems
- Since Streptococcus viridans is often found in the mouth, dental procedures are the most common cause of bacterial endocarditis.
Do’s and Don’ts of Infective Endocarditis
- Consult the doctor
Signs & Symptoms of Infective Endocarditis
- Fatigue, weakness
- Fever, chills
- Night sweats (may be severe)
- Weight loss
- Muscle aches and pains
- Heart murmur
- Shortness of breath with activity
- Swelling of feet, legs, abdomen
- Blood in the urine
- Excessive sweating
- Red, painless skin spots on the palms and soles (Janeway lesions)
- Nail abnormalities (splinter hemorrhages under the nails)
- Joint pain
- Abnormal urine color
- Red, painful nodes (Osler’s nodes) in the pads of the fingers and toes
Medical advice for Infective Endocarditis
See a doctor if you note the following symptoms during or after treatment:
- Weight loss without a change in diet
- Blood in urine
- Chest pain
- Numbness or weakness of muscles
Risk factors of Infective Endocarditis
Preexisting conditions that increase the likelihood of developing endocarditis include:
- Congenital (present at birth) heart disease (atrial septal defect, patent ductus arteriosus, and others)
- Prior rheumatic heart disease
- Cardiac valve anomalies (such as mitral insufficiency)
- Artificial heart valves
Treatment for Infective Endocarditis
Antibiotics and initial treatment
- While in the hospital, your vital signs will be monitored. You will be given antibiotics intravenously (IV). Once you go home, you will continue with oral or IV antibiotics for at least four weeks. During this time, you will keep visiting your doctor. Regular blood tests will check that the infection is going away.
- Surgery may be needed if your heart valves have been damaged. Your surgeon may recommend repairing the heart valve. The valve can also be replaced using a new valve made from either animal tissue or artificial materials.
- Surgery may also be necessary if the antibiotics are not working or if the infection is fungal. Anti-fungal medications are not always effective for infections in the heart
Self-care for Infective Endocarditis
- Consult the doctor immediately after you observe symptoms
Investigations for Infective Endocarditis
- Blood Culture
- Chest X-Ray
- CT Scan of chest