Infective endocarditis is an infection affecting the endocardium or heart valves. The condition is usually brought about by bacteria originating in the skin, mouth, intestines, urinary tract or respiratory system.
This is a serious condition that requires immediate medical care. If not treated right away, the heart valves are damaged.
What are the indications?
The signs tend to vary from one individual to another. In some cases, the symptoms might arise abruptly while others develop steadily.
The common symptoms might include:
- Chest pain
- Blood-streaked urine
- Reddened skin rash
- Unusual urine color
- White-colored spots in the mouth or on the tongue
- Sore throat
- Shortness of breath
- Joint pain and swelling
- Muscle pain
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Sinus congestion
- Weight loss
Management of infective endocarditis
Infective endocarditis can result to permanent damage to the heart. If not detected and promptly treated, it can become dangerous. Hospitalization is required to prevent the infection from worsening and causing complications.
Once hospitalized, the vital signs are monitored. Intravenous antibiotics are given. When the individual is discharged, oral or IV antibiotics are continued for at least 4 weeks. Regular blood testing is performed to ensure that the infection is eliminated.
In some instances, surgery is required if the heart valves are impaired. The doctor might decide to fix the heart valve. It might be replaced with a new valve made of artificial materials or animal tissue.
This approach is also an option if antibiotics are not effective or if fungal in nature.