Most cases of endocarditis can be treated with a course of antibiotics. You'll usually have to be admitted to hospital so the antibiotics can be given through a drip in your arm (intravenously).
While you're in hospital, regular blood samples will be taken to see how well the treatment is working.Once yourfever and any severe symptoms subside, you may be able to leave hospital and continue taking your Penicillin at home.
If you're taking antibiotics at home, you should have regular appointments with your GP to check that the treatment is working and you're not experiencing any side effects.
Depending on the severity of your condition, you'll usually have to take antibiotics for between two and six weeks.
Your doctor will usually take a blood sample before prescribing antibiotics to make sure you're given the most effective treatment. If your symptoms are particularly severe, you may be prescribed a mixture of different antibiotics before the results of the blood samples. This is a precautionary measure to prevent your symptoms becoming worse.
If your blood sample shows that fungi are causing your infection, you'll be prescribed an antifungal medicine .
Endocarditis can cause serious damage to your heart. You may be referred to a cardiologist (a specialist in diseases of the heart and blood vessels) so the condition of your heart can be assessed more thoroughly.
Between 15%and 25% of people with endocarditis need some form of surgery. This is usually to repair damage to the heart. Surgery will usually be recommended if:
The three main surgical procedures that are used to treat endocarditis are:
Surgery for endocarditis can be very challenging, not least because a person who needs surgery will usually be very ill to begin with. Despite the best efforts of their surgical teams, approximately one in 10 people will die during or shortly after surgery for endocarditis.
Endocarditis is a rare and potentially fatal type of heart infection. It's specifically an infection of the inner lining of the heart (the endocardium).
Common symptoms of endocarditis include a high temperature (fever), chills, loss of appetite and unexplained weight loss
If your heart valves are damaged, or if you have an artificial valve, it will be easier for bacteria to take root and trigger an infection.
To diagnose endocarditis, your GP will look closely at your medical history, paying particular attention to any problems that you may have had with your heart.
Most cases of endocarditis can be treated with a course of antibiotics though you may have to be admitted to hospital
If you have an increased risk of developing endocarditis, it is important that you limit your exposure to any infection that could trigger it.