Tuesday, September 19, 2017

What is bacterial endocarditis?

Infection of the heart valves is called infective or bacterial endocarditis. Usually the infection is by bacteria, thus the term bacterial endocarditis, but infections caused by fungi, Coxiella or Chlamydia can occur thus the term infective endocarditis is used by many physicians.

Several types of bacteria can cause bacterial endocarditis. It has been known for a long time that bacteria occasionally gain access to the blood vascular system of the body. Usually these invaders are quickly destroyed by the leucocytes or white cells of the blood.
In susceptible individuals, bacterial endocarditis can begin weeks or months after simple manipulation such as scaling and cleaning of teeth, other dental work, and surgery in areas of the body where infection may gain access.

Valve damage can occur when bacteria lodge on their surface, resulting in local destruction and valve dysfunction. Bacteria cast into the bloodstream from valve infections can spread throughout the body and present a host of confusion symptoms for the diagnostician.

Bacterial endocarditis accounts for 2% of all organic heart disease. A patient with bacterial endocarditis has an excellent chance for survival with prompt treatment.
What is bacterial endocarditis?
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