What Is Infective Endocarditis?

Infective Endocarditis is an inflammation of the inner lining of the chambers of the heart and the valves due to an infection. The inner lining is also called Endocardium and the condition is also known by the name Infective Endocarditis. The chief etiology of Endocarditis is when bacteria, fungi or other micro organisms invade the bloodstream and attaches to the abnormal areas of the heart. This infection can damage the heart and cause complications ranging from serious to potentially lethal.

The rate of development of the disease can happen either quickly or slowly depending on the type of germ that causes it and the medical history of the patient, i.e. if the patient has had any previous heart problems. The condition is referred to as acute infective endocarditis when it develops quickly and sub acute infective endocarditis if the rate of development of the condition is slow.

The most notable factor regarding Infective Endocarditis is that the patient is likely to have some structural heart defect like faulty heart valves for instance. The immune system is usually very effective at eliminating germs in the bloodstream, but if the heart has a rough lining or abnormal valves the pathogens can attach and multiply in the heart.

The most notable factor regarding Infective Endocarditis is that the patient is likely to have some structural heart defect like faulty heart valves for instance. The immune system is usually very effective at eliminating germs in the bloodstream, but if the heart has a rough lining or abnormal valves the pathogens can attach and multiply in the heart.

The following people are mostly affected by Infective Endocarditis

  • Patients with damaged or artificial heart valves
  • Patients with congenital heart defects.
  • Patients with implanted medical devices in the heart or blood vessels.

The common symptoms of Infective Endocarditis are:

  • Fever of unknown origin.
  • A changing heart murmur is observed in 35% of the cases.
  • Vascular phenomenon like a septic embolism i.e. a clot formed which is infected by bacteria and results in the formation of puss.
  • Immunological phenomenon which allows for the blood and albumin to enter the urine.

The methods of treatment are varied. It can be treated with antibiotics for a period spanning several weeks. Sometimes a heart surgery will be inevitable when damaged heart valves have to be repaired or replaced or when the infected heart tissue has to be removed. Most of the cases recorded have been successfully treated with the use of antibiotics. Infective Endocarditis can also prove fatal if left untreated or when the infection persists despite the treatment.