Infective Endocarditis: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment
What Is Infective Endocarditis?
Infective Endocarditis is the name given to a condition in which there is an infection of the heart valves in the endocardium or the inner lining of the heart. This condition develops due to bacteria entering the bloodstream and infects the lining of the heart or heart valves. Infective Endocarditis results in abnormal growths or holes and even can cause scarring of the valve tissues more often than not resulting in heart valve leakage. If left untreated, Infective Endocarditis can prove to be a life threatening condition.
What Causes Infective Endocarditis?
There are many microorganisms which can result in Infective Endocarditis. These organisms can be found in blood cultures and any type of growth is identified. Infective Endocarditis is also known by the name of Bacterial Endocarditis as bacteria are the most common cause of this disease.
What Are The Risk Factors For Infective Endocarditis?
Some of the risk factors for Infective Endocarditis are:
- Having a prosthetic heart valve
- Having a previous history of Infective Endocarditis
- If an individual has a congenital heart defect
- Having a history of rheumatic heart disease
- Any disease of the heart valves
- Having a history of cardiomyopathy
- Having a history of mitral valve prolapsed.
What Are The Symptoms Of Infective Endocarditis?
Some of the symptoms of Infective Endocarditis are:
- Persistent fever of above 100 degrees
- Chills and night sweats
- Rashes on the skin
- Tenderness along with pain and erythema
- Nonhealing wounds
- A sore that is persistently draining and not healing
- Sore throat
- Pain with swallowing
- Nasal congestion
- Frequent headaches
- Persistent dry cough
How Is Infective Endocarditis Diagnosed?
The diagnosis of Infective Endocarditis is dependent on the symptoms experienced by the patient. The physician will perform a detailed history inquiring about any previous history of mitral valve prolapse or any congenital heart defect. The physician will then order a blood culture to look for any types of bacteria which can cause Infective Endocarditis. An Echocardiogram will also be performed to look for evidence of any mitral regurgitation, stenosis, or abscesses in the heart.
How Is Infective Endocarditis Treated?
Once the specific bacteria which is causing Endocarditis is identified then the patient is started on a course of intravenous antibiotics to eliminate the bacteria. The course may last for over six weeks for complete elimination of the bacteria. During the course of the treatment blood tests may be performed routinely to look for signs of improvement from Infective Endocarditis. In case there is some sort of damage to the heart valves then a surgery may be required to repair it. It is best to take preventive actions for Infecive Endocarditis and in case if diagnosed emergent treatment is required to prevent any damage to the structures of the heart which may potentially serious.
How Can Infective Endocarditis Be Prevented?
Normally, individual who are considered at risk for developing Infective Endocarditis are recommended to take prophylactic antibiotics to prevent the condition before undergoing any procedure which may have a potential to cause an infection like dental procedures, any procedures of the gastrointestinal tract etc.