What is Endocarditis?

Endocarditis is an infection that occurs in the endocardium, which is the inner lining of your heart. This problem usually takes place when germs or bacteria from the other parts of your body (for example, the mouth) spreads into the bloodstream and then attach themselves to those areas of the heart that are damaged. People who have a healthy heart do not usually suffer from this infection. The people who are likely to get endocarditis are those who have an artificial heart valve, a damaged heart valve or any other defects in the heart.

Endocarditis usually leads to the formation of clumps of bacteria and cell fragments at the site of the infection in the heart. At times, these bacterial clumps can break lose and move to the other parts of the body like the kidneys, lungs, brains, abdominal organs and the extremities. Another complication of this infection is the development of abscesses in the heart of the other organs. These abscesses lead to an abnormal heartbeat and need to be removed surgically. Unfortunately, Endocarditis is quite a serious condition, which can result in a stroke, heart failure or even death if it isn’t treated properly and in time.

Endocarditis is a curable infection and the first line of treatment for this infection is the use of antibiotics. However, if the infection causes a lot of damage to the heart valves, the doctor may advise you to go in for a surgery. During the surgery, the damaged heart valve may either be repaired or replaced with an artificial valve.

Alternative Names

Endocarditis occurs when there is an infection in the inner lining of the heart. At times, health experts may use other names while referring to this condition. Some of the alternative names for Endocarditis include:

  • Valve infection
  • Bacterial Endocarditis
  • Infective Endocarditis
Many health care providers, websites, reports and health articles may use the terms listed above, when referring to Endocarditis.