Endocarditis (cont.)

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What are the symptoms of endocarditis?

Patients with endocarditis can develop:

  • fever,
  • fatigue,
  • chills,
  • weakness
  • aching joints and muscles,
  • night sweats,
  • edema (fluid collection) in the leg(s), foot (feet), and abdomen,
  • malaise,
  • shortness of breath, and
  • occasionally, scattered small skin lesions.

In endocarditis, blood cultures can often detect the bacteria causing the endocarditis. Patients can also develop anemia, blood in urine, elevated white blood cell count, and a new heart murmur.

Who is at risk for endocarditis?

People with existing diseases of the heart valves (aortic stenosis, mitral stenosis, mitral regurgitation, etc.) and people who have undergone heart valve replacements are at an increased risk of developing endocarditis. These people are usually given antibiotics prior to any procedure which may introduce bacteria into the bloodstream. This includes routine dental work, minor surgery, and procedures that may traumatize body tissues such as colonoscopy and gynecologic or urologic examinations. Examples of antibiotics used include oral amoxicillin (Amoxil) and erythromycin (Emycin, Eryc,PCE), as well as intramuscular or intravenous ampicillin, gentamicin, and vancomycin.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/16/2013

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