How Do You Know If You Have Endocarditis?
You can know about endocarditis by the signs and symptoms you possess. Your general physician will advice you some tests to confirm that you are suffering from the disease.
The signs and symptoms of endocarditis are-
Symptoms similar to flu such as fever (38 C or above), pain in muscles and joints, chill, heavy sweating and unexplained tiredness or fatigue
- Shortness of breath more marked during a physical exertion
- A new or alteration in your present heart murmur
- Unexplained weight loss
- Nausea and Vomiting
- The appearance of red spots and raised lumps in your hands and feet
The diagnostic tests directed by the physician will help you know that you have endocarditis or not. The diagnosis is based on your signs and symptoms, risk factors, medical history, physical examination, and positive test result.
Your physician will observe your symptoms such as fever and skin changes like nodules on your fingers, and toes. Physician will auscultate your heart by the help of stethoscope to listen to your heart murmurs. A heart murmur is an extra, unusual sound produced in the heart due to the disturbance in the blood flow inside the heart.
Many diseases represent similar symptoms, so your physician will give you list of some diagnostic tests to confirm endocarditis omitting other possible diseases.
Blood Tests: Blood tests are essential to detect endocarditis and identify the exact organism causing the disease. The blood tests help the physician for the selection of the most effective antibiotic or antifungal drugs to ensure effective treatment. The tests included can be-
Blood Culture Test:
Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) Test, C Reactive Protein (CRP) Test
Blood is taken in several times within 24 hours and placed in a culture media to enhance the growth of the organism that has caused endocarditis. In some cases, the test result may be negative, but this does not rule out endocarditis. The blood test is also done to detect anemia.
ESR and CRP tests help to determine inflammation. Normally, ESR or CRP is elevated in 90 percent of endocarditis cases.
Echocardiography (Echo): Echocardiography is a non-invasive and painless test that uses sound waves to develop images of the heart. These waves scan and create accurate pictures of the heart muscle, chambers, and valves. These images often help the physician to detect any lump of bacteria formed and infected or damaged tissues inside the heart.
The physician can take a close look at the structure and function of the heart through electrocardiography.
EKG: EKG is a painless test used to detect electrical activity of the heart. This test does not diagnose endocarditis, but it is used to know whether endocarditis has influenced the heart’s electrical activity. The test reveals the pace at, which heart is beating with steadiness or irregularity of heart rhythm and strength of electrical signals when they go through the heart.
CT Scan: Computerized tomography (CT) scan is done to take pictures of structures inside the heart. The pictures can be spilled by the computer to have a closer view. The physician uses this test to determine any abscess (collection of pus) formed inside your heart.