Endocarditis: an inflammation of one or more of the heart valves and lining tissues of the heart. Having existing congenital defects or damage to the heart valves increases the risk of developing endocarditis. The most common cause of endocarditis is bacterial infection, but fungi can also cause the condition. Symptoms are nonspecific and include fever, chills, and weakness. Long-term intravenous antibiotic therapy, up to 4 to 6 weeks, is the treatment for bacterial endocarditis. In severe cases, valve damage may occur that necessitates surgical replacement of a valve. Complications can include heart failure, stroke, and brain abscess.
Quick GuideHeart Disease: Causes of a Heart Attack
REFERENCE: Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.
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Last Editorial Review: 11/12/2012