Skip to Content

Endocarditis

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

Endocarditis is an infection of the inner lining of your heart. It may also affect the valves of your heart. Endocarditis, and the health problems it may cause, can be serious and can become life-threatening.

Heart Chambers

DISCHARGE INSTRUCTIONS:

Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) if:

  • You have any of the following signs of a heart attack:
    • Squeezing, pressure, or pain in your chest
    • You may also have any of the following:
      • Discomfort or pain in your back, neck, jaw, stomach, or arm
      • Shortness of breath
      • Nausea or vomiting
      • Lightheadedness or a sudden cold sweat
  • You have any of the following signs of a stroke:
    • Numbness or drooping on one side of your face
    • Weakness in an arm or leg
    • Confusion or difficulty speaking
    • Dizziness, a severe headache, or vision loss
  • You have sudden trouble breathing or shortness of breath while lying down.
  • Your heart pounds or flutters, or your heart rate is faster than usual.
  • You cough up blood.

Seek care immediately if:

  • You have a severe headache, stiff neck, and your eyes are sensitive to light.
  • You have new or increased swelling in your feet or ankles.
  • You feel faint.

Call your doctor or cardiologist if:

  • You have a fever.
  • You lose your appetite or are unable to eat.
  • You have increased fatigue and weakness.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Medicines:

You may need any of the following:

  • Antibiotics treat a bacterial infection.
  • Antifungals treat a fungal infection.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him of her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Self-care:

  • Rest as directed. Some activities may make your symptoms worse. Ask your healthcare provider what activities are safe for you to do. Also ask when you can return to your normal activities.
  • Do not smoke. Nicotine and other chemicals in cigarettes and cigars can cause heart and lung damage. Ask your healthcare provider for information if you currently smoke and need help to quit. E-cigarettes or smokeless tobacco still contain nicotine. Talk to your healthcare provider before you use these products.

Prevent endocarditis:

  • Keep your teeth and gums healthy. Brush and floss your teeth 2 to 3 times every day. It is best to brush and floss after meals. Gently brush your teeth and gums with a clean toothbrush that has soft bristles. Go to the dentist every 6 months for checkups. Always tell your dentist that you have had endocarditis.
  • Ask your healthcare provider if you should take antibiotics before certain procedures. Some procedures may allow bacteria to get into your blood and travel to your heart.
  • Carry a wallet card that says you are at risk for endocarditis. This card will alert healthcare providers. It will also help them decide if you need antibiotics before a procedure or in an emergency. You can get this card through the American Heart Association.
    • American Heart Association
      7272 Greenville Avenue
      Dallas , TX 75231-4596
      Phone: 1- 800 - 242-8721
      Web Address: http://www.heart.org

Prevent the spread of germs:


  • Wash your hands often. Wash your hands several times each day. Wash after you use the bathroom, change a child's diaper, and before you prepare or eat food. Use soap and water every time. Rub your soapy hands together, lacing your fingers. Wash the front and back of your hands, and in between your fingers. Use the fingers of one hand to scrub under the fingernails of the other hand. Wash for at least 20 seconds. Rinse with warm, running water for several seconds. Then dry your hands with a clean towel or paper towel. Use hand sanitizer that contains alcohol if soap and water are not available. Do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth without washing your hands first.
    Handwashing
  • Cover a sneeze or cough. Use a tissue that covers your mouth and nose. Throw the tissue away in a trash can right away. Use the bend of your arm if a tissue is not available. Then wash your hands well with soap and water or use a hand sanitizer. Do not stand close to anyone who is sneezing or coughing.
  • Do not share items. Examples include eating utensils, drinks, and food.
  • Ask about vaccines you may need. Vaccines help prevent some infections that cause disease. Get a yearly flu vaccine as soon as recommended, usually starting in September or October. Your healthcare provider can tell you other vaccines you should get, and when to get them.

Follow up with your cardiologist as directed:

You may need to return for more tests to check your heart over time. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Ā© Copyright IBM Corporation 2021 Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotesĀ® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or IBM Watson Health

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Endocarditis (Discharge Care)

Associated drugs

IBM Watson Micromedex

Symptoms and treatments

Mayo Clinic Reference

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.