Endocarditis: Causes, Symptoms and TreatmentWhen the inner lining of the heart is inflamed, usually together with one or more heart valves, doctors refer to it as endocarditis. The serious disease has various causes, but bacteria often trigger endocarditis. Since the symptoms are not always clear-cut, it is often difficult to make a diagnosis. Antibiotic therapy is used for treatment. Here you can find all the important information about endocarditis.
How does the bleeding occur? Detach pieces. Infection that gets into the bloodstream. Eventually they get into fine vessels and become lodged. A Embolism, the affected vessels get too little oxygen. If this happens in the fingers, the skin changes described above occur. In the brain, a Stroke arise. But also organs like the kidneys or the eyes can be affected.
Detecting endocarditis: How is the diagnosis made?
Due to the unclear and varied symptoms of endocarditis, the correct diagnosis often comes late. Especially if the patient shows risk factors for endocarditis, doctors should take notice. Based on the following examinations, they can detect endocarditis:
Blood work: There are typical endocarditis pathogens in the blood. imaging proceduresAn echocardiogram (heart ultrasound) or other examinations such as a cardio-MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) show abnormalities.
In addition, symptoms such as fever or embolism with the above-described skin symptoms suggest valvular heart inflammation.
Therapy of endocarditis: what can help?
Bacterial endocarditis is treated with high doses of antibiotics fought against, which are passed directly into the blood via the vein. Depending on the pathogen, the treating physician puts together the active substances. During the treatment, the doctor checks the success again and again, so that he can adjust the dose over time. At least four to six weeks must receive this endocarditis therapy. 4
If the heart valves have already been attacked by the inflammation to such an extent that they have suffered damage, a Surgery required. This affects about half of all patients. 5 In this procedure, the surgeon replaces one or more heart valves with artificial variants.
If the patient suffers from rheumatic endocarditis, treatment is aimed at the underlying disease. Antibiotics are used for this. Anti-inflammatory drugs in question.
With timely treatment, there is a good chance that the disease can be reversed without consequential damage remains. Without therapy, endocarditis is usually fatal. A possible Complication can be heart failure: In this case, the heart loses its pumping power, which affects the whole body.
FAQs about endocarditis
What is endocarditis?
In this case, the inner lining of the heart (endocardium) has become inflamed, in most cases due to a bacterial infection. Since the heart valves are formed by the endocardium, they are usually particularly severely affected.
What are the causes of endocarditis?
On the one hand, bacteria trigger endocarditis; experts refer to this as infective endocarditis. On the other hand, there is non-infectious endocarditis. In this form, for example, the immune system overreacts and attacks the inner lining of the heart.
What are the manifestations of endocarditis?
Endocarditis is noticeable by symptoms such as fever, chills, night sweats, palpitations or small hemorrhages on the hands or feet. Due to the unclear symptoms, it is not always recognized immediately.
What are the risk factors for endocarditis??
Patients who have undergone heart valve surgery, have a compromised immune system or have had endocarditis before are particularly at risk. But the disease also occurs in intravenous drug abuse or dialysis patients.
Is endocarditis contagious?
No. Since the bacteria in infective endocarditis are located in the heart or in the patient's bloodstream, they do not spread via droplet or smear infections. Non-infectious endocarditis can also not be transmitted to others.
What can be done in case of endocarditis??
Prompt and intensive antibiotic therapy over several weeks is part of the initial therapy. If the heart valves have suffered damage, surgery becomes necessary.