Definition of Culture-negative endocarditis
Culture-negative endocarditis is an infection and inflammation of the lining of one or more heart valves in which no endocarditis-causing germs can be identified on a blood culture. The reason for this is that certain germs just do not grow well in the laboratory setting, or because some patients have previously received antibiotics that keep such germs from growing.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Endocarditis is usually a result of a blood infection. Bacteria can enter the bloodstream during certain medical procedures, including dental procedures, and travel to the heart, where it can settle on damaged heart valves.
Symptoms of endocarditis may develop slowly (subacute) or suddenly (acute). Fever is the classic symptom and may persist for days before any other symptoms appear.
Signs and tests
There is usually an obvious source of infection, such as an infected catheter, a dental abscess, or an infected skin lesion. However, in many patients there is no history of infection.
You will be admitted to the hospital so you can receive medicines through a vein. Long-term, high-dose antibiotic or antifungal treatment is needed. Treatment is usually given for 4 – 6 weeks.
Heart valves may be damaged if diagnosis and treatment are delayed.
Daniel Levy, MD, Infectious Disease, Maryland Family Care, Lutherville, MD. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 4/27/2010