Endocarditis is the inflammation of the heart’s inner lining called the endocardium. It occurs when bacteria enters the bloodstream and travels to the heart. The condition also occurs due to infection, which is termed as infective endocarditis. Endocarditis can lead to life threatening complications if not treated quickly and properly.
Endocarditis is caused due to excessive growth of bacteria that enters the bloodstream through different ways and reaches the heart. It can also be caused by fungus or other germs. The possible ways through which bacteria enters bloodstream are:
- Cuts in skin or oral cavity
- Brushing teeth
- Poor oral hygiene
- Gum disease
- Intravenous illegal drugs
- Certain dental procedures
- Certain inflammatory conditions
- Sexually transmitted infections
Common symptoms of endocarditis includes:
- Flu like symptoms
- Fever and chills
- Aching joints
- Night sweats
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Unintentional weight loss
- Heart murmur
Diagnosis of endocarditis is based on:
- Review of signs and symptoms
- Medical history
- Physical examination
- Blood test
- Chest x ray
- Computerised tomography
Preventive measures for endocarditis includes:
- Use of antibiotics before dental procedures
- Maintaining good oral hygiene
- Avoid body piercings, IV drug use
- Avoid any procedures that might cause entry of germs in the body.
- Antibiotics are used to treat the condition when it is caused by bacteria.
- Surgical procedures might be required in cases where the condition exists for longer time or when there is damage to heart valves
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