Endocarditis: Symptoms & Signs

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Medically Reviewed on 5/30/2017

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.


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.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/30/2017

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