Medical Definition of Endocarditis

  • 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.

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.

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Reviewed on 12/21/2018

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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