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Information On Infectious Endocarditis

Infectious Endocarditis is an illness of the lining of the heart chambers and heart valves, result by bacteria, fungi, or other infectious agents. In several congenital cardiac diseases, infection can also happen in the lining of the arteries that come out of the heart. Infectious endocarditis may arise in a person of any age. The prevalence of infective endocarditis is between 1.7 and 4 per 100,000 persons, most commonly affecting men in their fifties. There are two forms of infective endocarditis. One form, called acute infective endocarditis, develops suddenly and may become life threatening within days.

The other type, called subacute infective endocarditis or subacute bacterial endocarditis, develops slowly and faintly over a period of weeks to several months. Bacteria may be introduced into the bloodstream. These organisms can then lodge on heart valves and infect the endocardium. Abnormal, damaged, or artificial valves are more susceptible to infection than normal valves. The bacteria that cause subacute bacterial endocarditis nearly always infect abnormal, damaged, or artificial valves. However, normal valves can be infected by some aggressive bacteria, especially if many bacteria are present.

The signs and symptoms of infective endocarditis depend on the causative organism. Symptoms of endocarditis may grow gradually or suddenly. Symptoms may involve fever, tiredness, weight loss, new rashes, headaches, backaches, joint pains, and confusion. A new heart murmur as well as new skin, fingernail, and retinal lesions are typical physical findings in endocarditis. Risk factors for children and young adults include birth defects, particularly a defect that allows blood to leak from one part of the heart to another. One risk factor for older people is degeneration of the valves or calcium deposits in the mitral valve or in the aortic valve.

Infective Endocarditis affects twice as many men as women of all ages but 8 times as lots of older men as older women. Damage to the heart by rheumatic fever as a child (rheumatic heart sickness) is also a risk issue. Infective endocarditis is treated with antibiotics and with surgery in some situations. The chosen antibiotic must be specific for the organism causing the condition. Treatment is generally given for 4-6 weeks, depending on the definite type of bacteria. Surgery may be required to replace damage heart valves. Good oral and dental hygiene is also thought to be important.