Most people with Reference endocarditis Opens New Window have symptoms that begin within 2 weeks after becoming infected. Vague, flu-like symptoms, such as a low-grade fever and fatigue, often occur first. But infection with a powerful strain of bacteria may cause symptoms to be more severe (such as a high fever) and to appear much faster, within a few days. If symptoms persist, see your doctor, especially if you are at a high risk for endocarditis.
- Chills and fever.
- Weight loss.
- Night sweats.
- Painful joints.
- Persistent cough and shortness of breath.
- Bleeding under the fingernails.
- Tiny purple and red spots under the skin.
If you have certain heart conditions, getting endocarditis is even more dangerous for you. These heart conditions include:
- Reference Artificial heart valves Opens New Window.
- Endocarditis in the past.
- Heart defects since birth (Reference congenital heart defects Opens New Window).
- Reference Heart valve Opens New Window problems after a heart transplant.
Other risk factors (things that raise your risk) for endocarditis include:
- Having Reference hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
- Having Reference hemodialysis Opens New Window, which is a treatment to clean the blood for people who have kidney failure.
- Injecting street drugs using dirty needles or without cleaning the skin.
- Having Reference HIV Opens New Window, which can reduce your ability to fight infection.
Your doctor can tell you whether you are at Reference increased risk for endocarditis. Before you have any medical, dental, or surgical procedures, tell all other health professionals who may treat you that you are at risk for endocarditis. Your doctor can give you a card to carry in your wallet stating that you may need preventive antibiotics before having certain procedures.
You will likely have symptoms if you have a complication of endocarditis. Complications may include:
- Reference Heart failure Opens New Window.
- Reference Abscesses Opens New Window in the heart.
- Reference Heart rhythm problems Opens New Window.
- Reference Heart attack Opens New Window.
- Reference Stroke Opens New Window.
- Infections in other organs such as the lungs, brain, or kidneys.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference November 18, 2011|
|Medical Review:||Reference E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Reference W. David Colby IV, MSc, MD, FRCPC - Infectious Disease