People with this condition will often need to be hospitalized at first to receive antibiotics through a vein (intravenously). Long-term antibiotic therapy is needed to get the bacteria out of the heart chambers and valves.
Patients will usually have therapy for 6 weeks. The antibiotic must be specific for the organism causing the condition. This is determined by the blood culture and the sensitivity tests.
Surgery to replace the heart valve is usually needed when:
- The infection is breaking off in little pieces, resulting in a series of strokes
- The person develops heart failure as a result of damaged heart valves
- There is evidence of organ damage
Early treatment of endocarditis improves the chances of a good outcome. However, valve destruction or strokes can result in death.
- Arrhythmias such as atrial fibrillation
- Blood clots or an infected clot that travels other organs, causing infection and severe damage
- Brain abscess
- Brain or nervous system changes
- Congestive heart failure
- Severe heart valve damage
Calling Your Health Care Provider
Call your health care provider if you notice the following symptoms during or after treatment:
- Blood in urine
- Chest pain
- Weight loss without change in diet
Review Date : 9/3/2008
Reviewed By : D. Scott Smith, M.D., MSc, DTM&H, Chief of Infectious Disease & Geographic Medicine, Kaiser Redwood City, CA & Adjunct Assistant Professor, Stanford University. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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