What is endocarditis? How is it treated?
Endocarditis is a severe form of infection of the heart lining, and is commonly caused by bacteria. Effective treatment of endocarditis requires injection of intravenous antibiotics on a long-term basis.
In rare cases, fungi may be the cause of endocarditis. This infection may lead to permanent heart damage, and may require major surgery to resolve the condition. It commonly occurs in individuals with congenital heart defects such as aortic valve stenosis. The risk of endocarditis is higher in people with prosthetic heart valves. The symptoms of endocarditis include high fever with chills, swelling in the hands and feet, and feeling short of breath even after moderate exercise. Splinter hemorrhages or bleeding under the nails, red patches on palms and soles, and painful red bumps on the finger or toe pads may be noticed. If any of these symptoms arise, it is better to seek immediate medical attention. Early treatment minimizes the damage to the heart.
If there is any damage to the heart caused by endocarditis, surgical repair will be required. You will be referred to a cardiothoracic surgeon for these procedures.