How Do They Test For Endocarditis?
The inflammation of heart’s inner lining (endocardium) is known as an ailment i.e. Endocarditis. The main cause of this infection in most cases is bacteria and sometimes fungi. When the infectious bacteria or fungi already present in our body finds a way to enter the bloodstream, then starts the induction of this syndrome. When these bacteria reach heart linings or heart valves, they start slowly damaging the surroundings of human heart leading to the life taking ailment i.e., endocarditis. However, it is uncommon to occur in people who have healthy hearts and a strong immune system.
How to Know, When It’s Time for a Test of Endocarditis?
Going by the statistical reports, most often symptoms of endocarditis go unnoticed till a later stage. Why so? The reason is that unfortunately the symptoms of such a severe ailment are not acute or dreadful enough to be perceived. Rather most of the signs resemble casual illnesses like flu or pneumonia.
Still scientists have taken it into serious consideration that if a patient claims some of the following symptoms together, they would look for endocarditis at once:-
- Heart murmurs
- Feverish chills
- Night sweating
- Pale or bluish color of skin
- Muscular pain
- Unintentional and sudden weight loss
- Swollen body parts mainly feet, legs or abdomen
- Nausea or shortness of breath
- Decreased appetite
- Slight blood in urine
- Abnormally bloated spleen
Also sometimes tender purple or red spots are observed on the skin or nearby fingers and toes. There are situations when ruptured capillary vessels loose out few reddish or purple spots from our blood cells. These come to visibility around eye whites, inside cheeks or on the upper side (roof) of the mouth.
How Do They Test For Endocarditis?
Once you consult medical practioners, they will first start by evaluating your symptoms and medical history. Then they would recommend appropriate tests needed. First of all, doctors need to confirm who hosted the roots of endocarditis in your body. Hence, it starts by a blood culture test which will determine which microorganism is causing this ailment in your body viz. bacteria, fungi etc.
The next test usually is transthoracic echocardiogram, which is a non-radiating imaging test. The objective of this test is to view 3-D images of heart and heart valves so as to analyze any abnormal movements in the affected area. In some cases when transthoracic echocardiogram is not enough to determine presence of endocarditis, then transthoracic echocardiogram is used. It is an additional imaging test used for correct and full assessment of heart. However, similar symptoms can arise by any lung problem also, so for confirmation of endocarditis doctors often go for a chest X-ray. Depending on whether there is fluid buildup near the lungs, doctors will differentiate between sick lungs or endocarditis.
In cases when the doctor feels that you have reached a later stage of endocarditis, doctor will try to check if the infection has spread itself to other organs or not. For this, a computerized tomography (CT) scan or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is conducted mainly for brain and chest.
What Would Happen If Test For Endocarditis Is not Taken In Time?
Endocarditis is no ordinary medical condition. It is a rare heart disorder that is susceptible to cause hazardous damage to any organ of your body or even prove to be lethal in whole. Having said that, you must have realized that all these symptoms can usually be observed during many other diseases. But if you have ever encountered any heart related disorder in the past or have taken any medications for that, please consult the doctor right away for any symptoms noticed like above.
Some fortunate patients get cured of endocarditis just by undertaking proper medical supervision and antibiotics. Others, who go through severe cases of endocarditis, are likely in need of surgery to fix up their mutilated heart valves.