Endocarditis seems to be a rare condition involving inflammation of the heart muscles, heart lining, and heart valves. This condition is also called infective endocarditis, fungal endocarditis, bacterial endocarditis, and even infectious endocarditis. An infection associated with the endocardium leads to endocarditis.
This sort of infection is usually triggered by staphylococcal or streptococcal bacteria. This condition could be caused on very rare occasions by fungi or any other such infectious micro-organisms. If statistics were to be believed 100,000 individuals every year are affected by endocarditis.
The doctor would be examining thoroughly the medical history of the patient and then identify any recent tests or medical procedures like endoscopies, biopsies, or surgeries, and possible heart issues. The doctor would be looking for the common symptoms such as nodules, fever, and other symptoms like a heart murmur or even for that matter, altered heart murmur in case the patient actually had one previously. A series of routine tests would need to be done in order to confirm the condition called endocarditis.
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Chief Causes of Endocarditis
Endocarditis is supposed to be an inflammation affecting the heart. It could occur when bacteria or even fungi get into your body as a result of an infection. It could be triggered when bacteria that are normally harmless while present in the upper respiratory tract, mouth, or some other parts of your body start attacking the heart tissue.
Usually, your immune system would be destroying these undesirable micro-organisms. However, when the heart valves are damaged, these bacteria would not only attach themselves to your heart but also, they would start multiplying. In such a situation, clumps of cells and bacteria would be forming on your heart valves.
All these would hamper the normal functioning of the heart. These bacteria could be causing abscesses on the heart muscle or the valves, damaging the tissue. Abnormalities may crop up in electrical conduction. Once in a while, a clump could be breaking off and spreading to some other parts of your body including brain, lungs, and kidneys.
- A dental issue or procedure which leads to an infection and that may trigger endocarditis. Poor oral health and hygiene could increase endocarditis risks.
- Surgical procedures could result in bacteria entering the body. Even certain tests of the digestive tract, for instance, colonoscopy may allow certain bacteria to enter your body.
- A defect in heart could increase endocarditis risk in case bacteria are allowed to enter your body. Heart defect from birth, or an abnormal valve, or a damaged heart tissue could be high- risk factors for endocarditis.
- Any kind of bacterial infection, for instance, gum disease or skin sore could trigger the spread of bacteria. Even the use of unclean needles while injecting drugs could be a major risk factor. Any patient with sepsis is at a higher risk of endocarditis.
- STIs or some sexually transmitted infections like gonorrhea or Chlamydia often facilitate bacteria to easily enter your body and eventually find a way to your heart.
Endocarditis could prove to be fatal if left untreated, however, with prompt treatment that involves the aggressive administration of antibiotics most patients are known to survive.