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What is Bacterial Endocarditis?

By on July 7, 2012 in Diseases with 0 Comments

 

What is bacterial endocarditis?

Bacterial endocarditis, or BE, is an infection of the valves and the lining of the heart (called endocardium). It occurs when bacteria from the skin, mouth, intestines or urinary tract enter the bloodstream (usually during a medical or dental procedure) and transmit the infection to the heart.

Who can get bacterial endocarditis?

Although BE can occur in anyone, people who have been diagnosed with a heart valve problem, an artificial valve or a heart defect are at increased risk. Having a heart murmur sometimes increases the chances of having BE. Usually, your doctor can determine whether or not a type of heart murmur that increases your risk of BE.

Do medical and dental procedures increase the risk of BE?

If you have a heart defect or a problem with a valve, the dental work (including professional teeth cleanings) and some medical procedures (such as colonoscopy and sigmoidoscopy cisoscopia) may increase the risk of bacteria entering the bloodstream.

How I can find out if I have BE?

Fever, chills and other symptoms similar to influenza may be the only signs of BE. Other symptoms include weakness and weight loss of unknown origin. Your doctor may suspect that you have BE if you hear abnormal heart sounds with a stethoscope. Your doctor should perform more tests, such as blood tests and an echocardiogram (a test of the heart with ultrasound) to determine if you have BE.

How is the BE treated?

The BE is treated with antibiotics. Generally, antibiotics are beginning to be administered intravenously (by IV) in the hospital, but many people can complete their treatment at home. For more complicated infections, you may need heart surgery.

 

 

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