Endocarditis is an infection of the inner lining of your heart, called the endocardium. This condition is usually due to a bacterial infection and can affect any valve or lining of your heart. Common causes are infected teeth or IV drug use, both of  which cause bacteria to enter the bloodstream.

People with healthy hearts aren’t usually diagnosed with endocarditis. Those with heart defects, or damaged or artificial heart valves are at a greatest risk of endocarditis.

Image Courtesy of A.D.A.M.

Image Courtesy of A.D.A.M.


  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • Aching joints
  • Night sweats
  • Shortness of breath
  • Paleness
  • Cough
  • Swelling in the feet, legs or abdomen
  • Blood in the urine


Typically, antibiotic therapy is the first alternative for treating endocarditis. For severe cases of endocarditis, your doctor may order intravenous antibiotics (IV) to get the infection under control and reduce symptoms. It is recommended that most patients remain on antibiotics for four to six weeks to completely rid their body of infection. Intravenous therapy or IV therapy is the infusion of liquid substances directly into a vein. The word intravenous simply means “within a vein.” Therapies administered intravenously are often called specialty pharmaceuticals. It is commonly referred to as a drip because many systems of administration employ a drip chamber, which prevents air from entering the blood stream (air embolism) and allows an estimation of flow rate.

If the endocarditis goes untreated and causes damage to your heart valves, you may require surgery to treat a persistent infection or repair a damaged valve.

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