Endocarditis is an infection of the heart's valves or inner lining. It occurs when germs get into the bloodstream and settle inside the heart, often on a valve. The infection is usually caused by bacteria. In rare cases, it is caused by fungi.
Endocarditis may develop slowly or suddenly — depending on what's causing the infection and whether you have any underlying heart problems. Endocarditis signs and symptoms vary, but may include Fever and chills, A new or changed heart murmur — heart sounds made by blood rushing through your heart, fatigue, aching joints and muscles, night sweats, shortness of breath, paleness, persistent cough, swelling in your feet, legs or abdomen, blood in your urine tenderness in your spleen, Osler's nodes red, tender spots under the skin of your fingers.
Infective Endocarditis is now more-often observed in new at-risk groups in industrialized countries, including intravenous-drug users and adults, including elderly individuals (>65 years), with valve prostheses or chronic healthcare-associated conditions. Consequentially, the mean age of patients with IE has increased from 30 years in the 1950s, to 50 years in the 1980s, and to as high as 55-60 years in the 1990s and 2000s. In a review of 3,784 cases of IE in the period 1993-2003, the incidence of infection was <5 per 100,000 patients per year in individuals younger than 65 years and >15 per 100,000 patients per year in those older than 65 years.This more than threefold higher frequency of IE diagnosis in older individuals probably reflects the clustering of more than one risk factor in the elderly.
Endocarditis occurs when germs enter your bloodstream, travel to your heart, and attach to abnormal heart valves or damaged heart tissue. Bacteria cause most cases, but fungi or other microorganisms also may be responsible.
Endocarditis is treated with a course of antibiotics given via a drip. You will need to be admitted to hospital for this. Around one in five people will also need surgery to repair or replace a damaged heart valve or drain away any abscesses that develop. Endocarditis is a serious illness, especially if complications develop. Even with the highest standard of medical care the risk of dying is high – at around one in five. Early diagnosis and treatment is vital to improve the outlook for the condition.