Endocarditis: Symptoms & Signs

Medically Reviewed on 9/10/2019

Endocarditis, an inflammation of the valves of the heart, causes symptoms that can be nonspecific and similar to those of many other conditions. For example, fever, malaise, weakness, and shortness of breath are common symptoms of endocarditis. Other symptoms that can occur with endocarditis are

Depending upon the cause of the endocarditis, other symptoms can occur. These include

Tiny hemorrhages known as petechiae can appear in the whites of the eyes, on the skin, or inside the mouth.

Causes of middle ear infection

Endocarditis is usually caused by bacterial growth on one of the heart valves, leading to an infected mass called a "vegetation." People who have a damaged heart valve or congenital (inborn) abnormalities of the heart valves are at greatest risk for this process to occur. In some cases, the bacterial infection may be introduced during dental work, colonoscopy, and other similar procedures in which bacteria may briefly enter the bloodstream.

Other endocarditis symptoms and signs


In the U.S., 1 in every 4 deaths is caused by heart disease. See Answer

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Brusch, John L. "Infective Endocarditis." Medscape.com. Oct. 24, 2016. <http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/216650-overview>.

Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.