Endocarditis is a rare and potentially fatal type of heart infection. It is an infection of the inner lining of heart (endocardium). Endocarditis is uncommon in people with healthy hearts. People at greatest risk of endocarditis have damaged heart valves, artificial heart valves or other heart defects.
Endocarditis generally occurs when bacteria or other germs from another part of body, such as mouth, spread through bloodstream and attach to damaged areas in heart. Left untreated, endocarditis can damage or destroy heart valves and can lead to life-threatening complications.
Long-term antibiotic therapy:
Surgery to replace the heart valve is usually needed when:
Recent studies have shown that the annual incidence of infective endocarditis (IE) is stable between 15 and 60 cases per million.The annual age- and sex-standardized incidence was 31 cases per million. There was no previously known heart disease in 47% of the cases. The proportion of prosthetic-valve IE was 16%. Causative microorganisms were: streptococci, 48%; enterococci, 8%; Abiotrophia species, 2%; staphylococci, 29%; and other or multiple pathogens, 8%. Blood cultures were negative in 9% and no microorganism was identified in 5% of the cases. In hospital mortality was 16%. Compared with 1991, this study showed a decreased incidence of IE in patients with previously known underlying heart disease (20.6 cases per million vs 15.1 cases per million; P<.001); a smaller incidence of oral streptococcal IE (7.8 cases per million vs 5.1 cases per million; P<.001), compensated by a larger proportion of IE due to group D streptococci (5.3 cases per million vs 6.2 cases per million; P = .67) and staphylococci (4.9 cases per million vs 5.7 cases per million; P = .97); an increased rate of early valve surgery (31.2% vs 49.7%; P<.001); and a decreased in-hospital mortality rate (21.6% vs 16.6%; P = .08). Although the incidence of IE has not changed, important changes in disease characteristics, treatment, and outcomes were noted.