Medical Definition of Endocarditis

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

Heart 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.

Subscribe to MedicineNet's Heart Health Newsletter

By clicking Submit, I agree to the MedicineNet's Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of MedicineNet's subscriptions at any time.


Last Editorial Review: 11/12/2012

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors