Definition of Endocarditis
Endocarditis is inflammation of the inside lining of the heart chambers and heart valves (endocardium).
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Endocarditis can involve the heart muscle, heart valves, or lining of the heart. Most people who develop endocarditis have have some abnormality of a heart valve.
Signs and tests
Doctors might suspect endocarditis in people with a history of:
People with this condition will often need to be hospitalized at first to receive antibiotics through a vein (intravenously). Long-term antibiotic therapy is needed to get the bacteria out of the heart chambers and valves.
Early treatment of endocarditis improves the chances of a good outcome. However, valve destruction or strokes can result in death.
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