What is it?
Endocarditis is an inflammation of the lining of the heart chambers and heart valves. A common cause for endocarditis is a bacterial or fungal infection in your bloodstream that settles on the inside of the heart. Symptoms of endocarditis include abnormal urine color, fatigue, excessive sweating, a low-grade fever, paleness or weight loss. Endocarditis is more common in people with certain conditions, including an artificial heart valve, heart defects, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy or AIDS.
If endocarditis is not treated, the bacteria inside your heart can form growths on or near your heart valves. The growths prevent the heart valves from opening and closing properly, interrupting the normal blood flow through the valves. Blood can leak backwards instead of being pumped forward. Over time, heart failure can develop.
Normally the bacteria that cause endocarditis will be treated with several weeks of antibiotics. Afterward, if your heart valves have been damaged by the bacteria, a cardiologist may call for a procedure to repair or replace them.