Endocarditis is an infection of the endocardium — the inner lining of your heart chambers and valves. Endocarditis occurs when bacteria, fungi, or other germs spread through your bloodstream and attach to areas inside your heart.
Endocarditis is a common type of cardiac device infection. These are infections that occur around and near implantable devices, such as a pacemaker or artificial heart valve. Implantable devices are used to treat certain heart conditions. If these infections are not treated quickly, they can damage or destroy your heart valves, leading to life-threatening complications. Experts at the University of Miami Health System can help.
Symptoms of endocarditis and cardiac device infections include:
- Aching joints and muscles
- Chest pain
- Flu-like symptoms, such as fever and chills
- New or changed heart murmur (sounds made by blood rushing through your heart)
- Night sweats
- Shortness of breath
- Swelling in your feet, legs, or abdomen
Your doctor may order a blood test to check for any bacteria or fungi in your bloodstream.
This test uses sound waves to create images of your heart while it’s beating, and it can check for signs of infection in the heart.
This test can check to see if your heart’s electrical activity is normal.
Your doctor may order an X-ray of your chest to see if your heart is enlarged or if any infection has spread to your lungs.
Other Imaging Tests
Your doctor may order other imaging tests – such as a computerized tomography (CT) scan or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) – to see if infection has spread to other areas, such as your brain or chest.
Your doctor will prescribe an antibiotic medication to treat the underlying cause of your infection. In more severe cases, your doctor may recommend high doses of intravenous (through the vein) antibiotics in the hospital. After that, you will likely take oral (by mouth) antibiotic medicine for up to several weeks.
Your doctor may recommend surgery if your infection has not been responsive to antibiotic medication or to replace a damaged heart valve.
Why Choose UHealth?
Advanced, specialized care to fight infections. From the latest diagnostic techniques to the newest evidence-based medicines, our infectious disease physicians offer specialized care for many infectious diseases including HIV, cytomegalovirus, fungal infections, mycobacterial infections, and more. We create personalized treatment plans based on the cause of your infection and your health to prevent and fight bacterial, fungal, and viral infections. You’ll have access to expert physicians, more treatment options, and supportive care that focuses on your needs.
Unparalleled health care for the South Florida community. The University of Miami Health System delivers leading-edge patient care by the region’s best doctors, powered by the groundbreaking research of the University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine.
Greater access to UHealth specialists. With more than 30 clinical sites across South Florida, UHealth patients are able to receive the excellence of academic health care without leaving the area.
The future of medicine is happening now. From diagnosis to treatment and follow-up, physicians work in teams to diagnose and treat each patient, using the latest technology and innovative approaches in their field. UHealth patients can participate in clinical trials and benefit from the most recent discoveries that are fast-tracked from the laboratory to the bedside.
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