Bacterial endocarditis (BE) is a serious infection of the endocardium or the heart that occurs when certain bacteria in the bloodstream adhere onto abnormal heart valves or other damaged heart tissue. The resulting infection can rapidly and severely damage the heart valves. A common causative bacteria is staphylococcus, but any organism entering the bloodstream from any site of prior infection can lead to the development of BE.
Subacute bacterial endocarditis (SBE) occurs when bacteria lodge on damaged heart valves and produce clusters or vegetations, on the valves. Frequently symptoms of SBE are mild or vague. Pieces of these vegetations may dislodge and travel through the blood as emboli to such areas as the brain, spleen, or kidneys. SBE is usually caused by either streptococcus (other than group A) or enterococcus bacteria.
Management of IE traditionally required a lengthy hospitalization for intravenous antibiotics. The recent trend, however, is to use shorter treatment courses, oral and once-daily regimens and outpatient programs.
Prompt diagnosis, identification of the causative organism, recognition of complications, and timely initiation of effective treatment with the appropriate antibiotic is important to ensuring a good outcome. Another goal is prevention of BE in persons with increased risk due to valve or heart conditions by administering preventive (prophylactic) antibiotics prior to high-risk procedures.
The Medifocus Guide on Bacterial Endocarditis provides answers to the following important questions and medical issues:
What are the most common symptoms of bacterial endocarditis?
Are there any recognized risk factors for developing bacterial endocarditis?
What kinds of medical tests are used to establish the diagnosis of bacterial endocarditis?
What is the current standard of care for the treatment of bacterial endocarditis?
What treatment options are available for the management of bacterial endocarditis?
Are there any promising new developments or potential breakthroughs in treatment?
Who are the most notable medical authorities who specialize in bacterial endocarditis?
Where are the leading hospitals and centers of research for bacterial endocarditis?
What are the most important questions to ask my doctor about bacterial endocarditis?
What Your Doctor Reads:
This MediFocus Guide contains an extensive listing of citations and abstracts of recent journal articles that have been published about this condition in trustworthy medical journals. This is the same type of information that is available to physicians and other health care professionals. A partial selection of journal articles that are abstracted in this MediFocus Guide includes:
Staphylococcus aureus bacteremia and endocarditis. Journal of Microbiology, Immunology & Infection. 2000
Bacterial endocarditis and orthodontics. Journal of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh. 2000
Late aortic homograft valve endocarditis caused by Cardiobacterium hominis: a case report and review of the literature. Heart. 2000
Management of bacterial endocarditis. American Family Physician. 2000
Endocarditis due to group A beta-hemolytic Streptococcus in children with potentially lethal sequelae: 2 cases and review. Clinical Infectious Diseases. 2000
Native valve endocarditis due to Mycobacterium fortuitum biovar fortuitum: case report and review. Clinical Infectious Diseases. 2000
Endocarditis caused by Corynebacterium diphtheriae: case report and review of the literature. Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal. 2000
Destructive native valve endocarditis caused by Staphylococcus lugdunensis. Southern Medical Journal. 1999
Dentists are innocent: "Everyday" bacteremia is the real culprit: a review and assessment of the evidence that dental surgical procedures are a principal cause of bacterial endocarditis in children. Pediatric Cardiology. 1999
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