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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.


DISCHARGE INSTRUCTIONS:

Call 911 for any of the following:

  • You have any of the following signs of a heart attack:
    • Squeezing, pressure, or pain in your chest that lasts longer than 5 minutes or returns
    • Discomfort or pain in your back, neck, jaw, stomach, or arm
    • Trouble breathing
    • Nausea or vomiting
    • Lightheadedness or a sudden cold sweat, especially with chest pain or trouble breathing
  • 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.

Contact your healthcare provider 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 check ups. 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 that you are at risk for endocarditis. 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

Follow up with your cardiologist as directed:

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

© 2016 Truven Health Analytics Inc. 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 CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

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.

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