What is Infective Endocarditis?
Infective endocarditis refers to the infection of the heart valves and the inner layer of the heart chamber, which is called the endocardium. This condition usually occurs when germs like bacteria and fungi spread from other parts of the body through blood circulation and attach themselves to the sensitive areas of the heart. This is a serious disease that can damage your heart valves. If it is not treated immediately, it can become a threat to your life.
Treatment is available for the condition caused by the endocarditis. In most cases, it can be treated through antibiotics while in some cases, surgery may be required.
There are many reasons for infective endocarditis, so it is not easy for a doctor to identify the exact source of endocarditis, but in most cases the organism is detected. However, individuals at higher risk of endocarditis generally have a damaged heart valve, history of mitral valve repair, artificial heart valve, or other heart diseases, diabetic, IV drug users, chronic kidney disease, cancer patients.
What can be the causes of infective endocarditis?
Infective endocarditis occurs when germs from other parts of the body reach the heart through the bloodstream and attach themselves to normal/abnormal heart valves or damaged heart tissue. Most cases of infective endocarditis are caused by bacteria, while in some cases, fungi or other microorganisms cause the condition.
Your strong immune system prevents dangerous bacteria from entering the bloodstream. But even if bacteria accidentally make their way to the heart, they pass through without triggering an infection. However, sometimes dangerous bacteria that are present in your mouth, throat or gut or skin can cause an endocarditis infection.
Symptoms Of Infection Endocarditis
Endocarditis infection can come on slowly or suddenly, depending on the bacteria or microorganism. Infective endocarditis largely depends on whether you have any heart disease. Generally, the symptoms of infective endocarditis can vary from person to person.
Some of the common symptoms of endocarditis are given below-
- Fever, most common symptom
- Difficulty in breathing
- Blackening of fingertips
- Muscle or joint pain
- Abnormal heartbeat
- Chest pain
Your doctor may recommend several tests if endocarditis is suspected. The main ones are Blood Cultures, Complete blood count, CRP, ESR, ECG, Chest-X-ray, Echocardiogram (transthoracic or transesophageal), CT or MRI if necessary.
How is Infective Endocarditis (IE) Treated?
In most cases, infective endocarditis (IE) is effectively treated with antibiotics. While in some cases surgery may be required. Your doctor may recommend intravenous antibiotic therapy depending on your infection. It usually takes 6-7 weeks for the antibiotic therapy to be completed.
If you already have a heart disease or the condition is severe due to endocarditis, your doctor may recommend heart valve surgery.
If you have a healthy heart, it’s less likely that you’ll get infective endocarditis (IE), but it’s still possible. If you already have a heart problem or use illegal intravenous drugs, then you are most at risk of developing endocarditis. That’s why you must keep consulting your doctor from time to time.
If you have Infective Endocarditis (IE), you can contact us for better treatment.