Endocarditis is an inflammation of the endocardium, the inner lining of the heart and heart valves. Most cases are caused by a bacterial infection. Endocarditis is a serious condition that can lead to severe medical complications, even death, if not treated.
The most common symptom of endocarditis is fever. The fever may be high or low, and it may seem to come and go. Other common symptoms include the following:
Most causes of endocarditis are related to a bacterial or fungal infection. Your body can usually fight off an infection, even if bacteria reach your heart. However, when heart valves or tissues are damaged, they provide a good place for bacteria to lodge and multiply.
Your risk of endocarditis increases if you have:
Your doctor will listen to your heart and lungs, take your pulse, and check your eyes and skin. You will likely undergo several tests, including:
Usually, your doctor will admit you to the hospital, possibly in intensive care, until your symptoms are under control.
Your doctor will treat endocarditis with high doses of antibiotics, almost always intravenously. Sometimes, surgery is also required.
Endocarditis is usually treated with a combination of 2 to 3 antibiotics, such as penicillin, gentamicin, vancomycin, cefazolin, ceftriaxone, nafcillin, oxacillin, rifampin, and ampicillin. Treatment is determined by what type of bacteria is infecting your heart and generally takes 2 to 6 weeks. In patients with endocarditis, long-term daily use of aspirin does not reduce the risk of embolic events, but may be associated with a higher level of bleeding.
Endocarditis has serious consequences and requires aggressive medical treatment. Endocarditis should never be treated with alternative therapies alone. Inform all of your health care providers of any alternative medicine therapies or supplements you are using. If you are pregnant, or thinking of becoming pregnant, do not use any complementary and alternative therapies (CAM) therapies unless directed to do so by your physician.
Following these nutritional tips may help reduce symptoms:
You may address nutritional deficiencies with the following supplements:
Herbs are generally a safe way to strengthen and tone the body's systems. As with any therapy, you should work with your health care provider to determine the safest and most effective botanical therapies before starting treatment. Always tell your provider about any herbs you may be taking. You may use herbs as dried extracts (capsules, powders, or teas), glycerites (glycerine extracts), or tinctures (alcohol extracts). Unless otherwise indicated, make teas with 1 tsp. herb per cup of hot water. Steep covered 5 to 10 minutes for leaf or flowers, and 10 to 20 minutes for roots. Drink 2 to 4 cups per day. You may use tinctures alone or in combination as noted.
Although few studies have examined the effectiveness of specific homeopathic therapies, professional homeopaths may consider the following remedies as a supplemental treatment for the symptoms of endocarditis, as long as the underlying infection has been appropriately treated. Before prescribing a remedy, homeopaths take into account a person's constitutional type, includes your physical, emotional, and psychological makeup. An experienced homeopath assesses all of these factors when determining the most appropriate treatment for each individual.
Acupuncture may help improve immunity and strengthen heart function.
In addition to monitoring your condition while you are in the hospital, your health care provider will order follow up procedures, such as blood tests, to determine how well the prescribed treatment is working.
Anavekar NS. Aspirin and infective endocarditis: an ancient medicine used to fight an ancient disease-but does it work? J Infect. 2009;58(5):329-31.
Athan E, Chu VH, Tattevin P, et al. Clinical characteristics and outcome of infective endocarditis involving implantable cardiac devices. JAMA. 2012;307(16):1727-35.
Bennett JE, Dolin R, Blaser MJ. Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone; 2009.
Bope ET, Kellerman RD. Conn's Current Therapy 2010. 1st ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2009.
Cabrera C, Artacho R, Gimenez R. Beneficial effects of green tea -- a review. J Am Coll Nutr. 2006;25(2):79-99.
Chan KL, Tam J, Dumesnil JG, et al. Effect of long-term aspirin use on embolic events in infective endocarditis. Clin Infect Dis. 2008;46(1):37-41.
Duval X. Effect of early cerebral magnetic resonance imaging on clinical decisions in infective endocarditis: a prospective study. Ann Intern Med. 2010;152(8):497-504,W175.
Ferri F. Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2014. 1st ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Mosby; 2013.
Fernandez Guerrero ML, Gonzalez Lopez JJ, Goyenechea A, et al. Endocarditis caused by Stphylococcus aureus: A reappraisal of the epidemiologic, clinical, and pathologic manifestations with analysis of factors determining outcome. Medicine (Baltimore). 2009;88(1):1-22.
Habib G, Badano L, Tribouilloy C, et al. Recommendations for the practice of echocardiography in infective endocaridiolyg. Eur J Echocardiogr. 2010:11(2):202-19.
Hayes DD. New guidelines for preventing infective endocarditis. Nursing. 2007;37(8):22-3.
Kanafani Z.Daptomycin compared to standard therapy for the treatment of native valve endocarditis. Enferm Infecc Microbiol Clin. 2010;28(8):498-503.
Kebed KY, Bishu K, Al Adham RI, et al. Pregnancy and postpartum infective endocarditis: a systematic review. Mayo Clin Proc. 2014;89(8):1143-52.
Martin RP. Infectious endocarditis: still a menace. J Am Soc Echocardiogr. 2010;23(4):403-5.
Murakami T, Niwa K, Yoshinaga M, et al. Factors associated with surgery for active endocarditis in congenital heart disease. Int J Cardiol. 2012;157(1):59-62.
Murdoch DR, Corey GR, Hoen B, et al. Clinical presentation, etiology, and outcome of infective endocarditis in the 21st century: the International Collaboration on Endocarditis-Prospective Cohort Study. Arch Intern Med. 2009;169(5):463-73.
Pallasch TJ. Perspectives on the 2007 AHA Endocarditis Prevention Guidelines. J Calif Dent Assoc. 2007;35(7):507-13.
Pierce D, Calkins B, Thornton K. Infectious Endocarditis: Diagnosis and Treatment. American Family Physician. 2012;85(10).
Shimokoawa T, Kasegawa H, Matsuyama S, et al. Long-term outcome of mitral valve repair for infective endocarditis. Ann Thorac Surg. 2009;88(3):733-9; discussion 739.
Syed FF, Millar BC, Prendergast BD. Molecular technology in context: a current review of diagnosis and management of infective endocarditis. Prog Cardiovasc Dis. 2007;50(3):181-97.
Walls G, McBride S, Raymond N, et al. Infective endocarditis in New Zealand: data from the International Collaboration on Endocarditis Prospective Cohort Study. N Z Med J. 2014;127(1391):38-51.
Yoon JH, Baek SJ. Molecular targets of dietary polyphenols with anti-inflammatory properties. Yonsei Med J. 2005;46(5):585-96.
Zapfe jun G. Clinical efficacy of crataegus extract WS 1442 in congestive heart failure NYHA class II. Phytomedicine. 2001;8:262-6.
Zhao D, Zhang B. Are valve repairs associated with better outcomes than replacements in patients with native active valve endocarditis? Interact Cardiovasc Thorac Surg. 2014;19(6):1036-9.
Reviewed By: Steven D. Ehrlich, NMD, Solutions Acupuncture, a private practice specializing in complementary and alternative medicine, Phoenix, AZ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- 2019 A.D.A.M., a business unit of Ebix, Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.