Endocarditis is an infection of the endocardium of the Heart. The endocardium is the layer of the heart that is the inner lining of your heart chambers and heart valves.

The cause of this condition can be bacteria, fungus, or other germs. Typically, the infection starts in another part of the body and is transmitted to the heart through the Circulatory System.

Transmission can begin in the mouth, skin, or through IV drug use. Once it arrives at the heart, the infection can cause tissue damage and even damage the heart.

If it is not treated, Endocarditis, can quickly damage the heart or the tissues and the complications can be life -threatening.

Treatment of antibiotics can be used. But additionally, hospitalization and surgery may be required in more serious cases. The most Common case is Bacterial Endocarditis.

Symptoms

–  Flu like symptoms
–  Fever and Chills
–  New Heart murmur
–  Fatigue
–  Joint pains
–  Muscle Pains
–  Night Sweats
–  Shortness of Breath
–  Chest pain when breathing
–  Swelling in legs, feet or abdomen

Less Common Symptoms

–  Weight loss
–  Blood in urine
–  Abdomen tenderness – especially in Spleen
–  Janeway Lesions – red spots on soles of feet or palms of hands
–  Osler’s nodes – red and tender spots under the skin of your fingers or toes
–  Petechiae – Tiny purple or red spots on skin, whites of eyes, and/or inside your mouth

Causes:

–  Bacteria or Fungus into blood stream
–  Mouth Infections
–  Catheters
–  Tattoos
–  Body Piercings
–  IV Drug use
–  Skin Infections
–  Others

Additional Risks

1.)  History of Artificial heart valves
2.)  History of Congenital Heart Defects
3.)  History of Previous Endocarditis
4.)  History of Damaged Heart Valves
5.)  History of IV Drug Use

Complications

–  Heart Problems
–  Stroke
–  Seizures
–  Body paralysis
–  Abscesses in brain, heart, lungs, etc
–  Pulmonary Embolism
–  Enlarged Spleen

Prevention

–  With a history of previous Endocarditis – antibiotics can be given during dental procedures
–  With a history of heart disease, damaged valves, or otherwise. Preventative antibiotics can also be used.
–  Avoid body piercings and tattoos
–  Avoid IV drug use
–  Brush and floss teeth and gums
–  Have a regular dental check-up

Treatment

1.)  Antibiotics
2.)  Cardiac work up to evaluate damage of valves and heart
3.)  Hospitalizations
4.)  Surgery – repair or improvement of heart valves
5.)  Surgery – Prosthetic Heart valve placement

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