Endocarditis is a bacterial infection in the bloodstream.
When left untreated, infective endocarditis can be life-threatening, damaging your heart or destroying your heart valves.
To request an appointment, contact the UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute:
Endocarditis is an infection caused by bacteria in the bloodstream. The bacteria settle in your heart's inner lining or a heart valve, causing an infection.
The bacteria can enter your body:
Fungi, or other germs from your body that spread to your heart through your bloodstream, can also cause it.
People are at higher risk of infective endocarditis if they have certain heart problems, including:
People at higher risk of getting endocarditis may receive antibiotics before some dental procedures.
When left untreated, infective endocarditis can damage or even destroy your heart valves. This can be life-threatening.
Stroke is also possible if parts of the infection break off and cause blood clots.
The UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute brings together specialists to diagnose and treat infective endocarditis.
Endocarditis has symptoms like other infections, including
Infective endocarditis symptoms may progress slowly or come on suddenly. Sometimes symptoms come and go.
Other signs and symptoms of infective endocarditis include:
You should see a doctor right away if you have any symptoms of endocarditis.
Your doctor will review your signs and symptoms and might order tests to confirm a diagnosis of infective endocarditis.
Tests you might have include:
Treatment for infective endocarditis begins with an IV of antibiotics in the hospital.
After leaving the hospital, most people need long-term antibiotics — about four to six weeks — to kill all the harmful bacteria.
In some cases, you may need surgery to replace the infected heart valve if:
Getting treatment right away gives you the best chance for treating the infection.