Q- What is endocarditis?
Endocarditis is an infection of the inner lining of the heart chambers and heart valves.
Q- What causes endocarditis?
Endocarditis occurs when germs enter your blood, travel to your heart, and attach to abnormal heart valves or damaged heart tissue. Eating and drinking aren’t the only ways that germs can enter your body. They can also get into your bloodstream through:
- brushing your teeth
- having poor oral hygiene or gum disease
- having a dental procedure that cuts your gums
- contracting a sexually transmitted disease
- using a contaminated needle for tattoos, body piercing or for intravenous medications
- through an indwelling urinary catheter or intravenous catheter
Q- Who is at risk of endocarditis?
People at highest risk of endocarditis are those with
- Artificial heart valves.
- Having a heart defect
- A history of endocarditis.
- Damaged heart valves.
- A history of intravenous (IV) illegal drug use.
Q- What are the symptoms of Endocarditis?
Symptoms may develop slowly or suddenly. Endocarditis signs and symptoms can vary from person to person.
Common signs and symptoms of endocarditis include:
- Flu-like symptoms, such as fever and chills
- A new or changed heart murmur, which is the heart sounds made by blood rushing through your heart
- Aching joints and muscles
- Night sweats
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain when you breathe
- Swelling in your feet, legs or abdomen
Q- How is endocarditis diagnosed?
Your doctor will go over your symptoms and medical history before conducting any tests. The following tests may be done by the doctor.
- Blood test
- Transthoracic echocardiogram or Transesophageal echocardiogram- a common test that allows the doctor to see your heart beating and pumping blood. With the help of sound waves, heart images are formed.
- Electrocardiogram- EKG
- Chest X-ray
Q- Can endocarditis be treated?
Yes, it can be treated with antibiotics and surgery if heart valves are damaged.
Q- Can I prevent Endocarditis?
Yes, you can help prevent endocarditis in several ways-
- Having good oral hygiene and keeping regular dental appointments.
- if you’ve undergone a dental treatment that was followed up with antibiotics, make sure to take your antibiotics as directed.
- History of heart disease, heart surgery, or endocarditis, be on the watch for the signs and symptoms of endocarditis. Pay special attention to persistent fever and unexplained fatigue. Contact your doctor as soon as possible if you have any of these symptoms.
- Avoid procedures that may lead to skin infections, such as body piercings or tattoos.
To know better about Endocarditis diagnosis and treatment, please watch the video below.