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Infective Endocarditis - Types, Causes, Risk Factors, Diagnosis and Treatment

Published on Mar 18, 2022 and last reviewed on Apr 21, 2022   -  6 min read


Infective endocarditis is a condition that might result in severe complications like heart failure. Read this article to know more about infective endocarditis.



Infective endocarditis is an infection that is caused by microbes. It is known to affect the heart. The most common site of occurrence for infective endocarditis is the existing damage in the heart valves. It can also occur in any prosthesis.

How Does Infective Endocarditis Occur?

Many layers line the heart. The endothelium is a layer that is found in the internal areas of the heart. If there is high pressure in the heart's pumping mechanism, it can result in valvular damage. The area that has been damaged will have a platelet adhesion and aggregation. It will also be accompanied by fibrin deposition. This will represent the non-bacterial thrombotic endocarditis.

If any organisms enter the body and reach the blood, it might become an infectious site in the body. This can grow further and lead to the obstruction of organs. In severe cases, abscess formation is seen. The most commonly affecting group of bacteria are known as the HACEK group. They are Haemophilus, Actinovacillus, Cardiobacterium, Eikenella, and Kingella.

What Are the Types of Infective Endocarditis?

Infective endocarditis is classified into two types depending on the duration of occurrence. They are acute and sub-acute.

The patient will be recommended to perform a few dental procedures before starting the treatment for infective endocarditis. This is done as a prophylactic measure. In case of failure to perform these dental procedures, it will increase the risk for infective endocarditis. The recommended procedures are:

Few procedures need not require separate prophylaxis for infective endocarditis. They are:

What Are the Symptoms of Infective Endocarditis?

The symptoms are known to differ from person to person. The time taken for the development of symptoms might also vary. The common symptoms of infective endocarditis are:

If infective endocarditis is not treated in the initial stage, it can lead to life-threatening complications. Since it resembles other conditions, a proper diagnosis is required.

Who Is at High Risk of Infective Endocarditis?

People with the following conditions are known to be at high risk.

How Is Infective Endocarditis Diagnosed?

Duke's criteria are one of the methods to identify the infective endocarditis. It would require the help of findings from echocardiography. Laboratory diagnosis and clinical findings are also essential. The standard diagnostic methods that are used for the diagnosis of infective endocarditis are:

What Are the Treatment Options for Infective Endocarditis?

The treatment of infective endocarditis can be done both with medications and surgical options. The first line of treatment would be aimed at healing the patient by providing medication. In case of severe condition only, surgical option is preferred.

What Are the Precautionary Measures?

There are a few ways to prevent infective endocarditis, they are:

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Last reviewed at:
21 Apr 2022  -  6 min read




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