Bacterial endocarditis is an infection of the lining of the heart (endocardium), and the heart valves. It does not happen very often, but when it does, it can cause serious heart damage.
Bacterial endocarditis occurs when bacteria in the blood enter the heart and cause infection.
Bacteria can enter the body in many ways. Having heart problems, especially with the valves, raises the chance that bacteria will affect the heart. Some of the most common ways bacteria get into the blood include:
Your child is at higher risk for bacterial endocarditis if he or she has:
Talk with your child's healthcare provider about your child's risk factors.
Symptoms can occur a bit differently in each child. They can include:
The healthcare provider will ask about your child’s symptoms and health history. He or she will give your child a physical exam and listen to your child's heart. Other tests may include:
Treatment will depend on your child’s symptoms, age, and general health. It will also depend on how severe the condition is.
A child heart specialist (pediatric cardiologist) and an infectious disease specialist will take care of your child. Treatment includes:
Complications of bacterial endocarditis include:
Bacterial endocarditis can't be entirely prevented. But some things can help. They include:
Some children with heart problems need to take antibiotics before some dental and medical procedures. Talk with your child's healthcare provider to find if your child needs antibiotics.
Your child will need ongoing care, including:
Call your child's healthcare provider right away if your child has:
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your child’s healthcare provider:
Stroke is a leading cause of death and a
leading cause of serious, long-term disability, according to the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American Stroke Association (ASA). The ASA reports that strokes are the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S. Find out more about stroke by taking this quiz, based on information from the AHA and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).