ID: 122
Category: Heart condition
CreatedBy: 1
UpdatedBy: 1
createdon: 14 Jul 2017
updatedon: 04 Apr 2023

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Author: Khoa Tran
Published Jul 14, 2017
Updated Apr 04, 2023

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Etymology and Pronunciation

Endocarditis (en-doh-kahr-DYE-tis)
endo - Greek for "inside"
kardia - Greek for "heart"
-itis - Greek for "inflammation"

History of Endocarditis

In 1806, the French physician Jean-Nicolas Corvisart described a case of a patient who died from a fever and inflammation of the heart. Corvisart identified the inflammation as being located on the surface of the heart, which he called "pericarditis". However, it was not until later that physicians began to recognize that inflammation could also occur on the inner lining of the heart, which is now known as endocarditis.

In the mid-19th century, several physicians, including the German physician Friedrich Daniel von Recklinghausen and the English physician William Senhouse Kirkes, described cases of endocarditis and began to identify the underlying causes of the condition. They observed that endocarditis often occurred in individuals with preexisting heart conditions, such as congenital heart defects or rheumatic heart disease, and that it could be caused by infections, such as streptococcal or staphylococcal infections.

In the early 20th century, advances in medical technology and research led to a better understanding of the causes and risk factors for endocarditis, as well as improved diagnostic and treatment options. Today, endocarditis remains a significant medical concern, particularly for individuals with preexisting heart conditions or those who are at increased risk of infection. Despite ongoing advances in medical research and treatment, the prevention and management of endocarditis remain an ongoing challenge for physicians and researchers.

Modern Understanding of Endocarditis

Endocarditis is a condition where the inner lining of the heart, known as the endocardium, becomes infected. This can lead to an infection of the heart valves, called infective endocarditis. Endocarditis is typically caused by bacteria, but can also be caused by fungi. There are two types of endocarditis: subacute and acute. Subacute endocarditis develops slowly over weeks to months, while acute endocarditis occurs quickly over a period of days to weeks.

Endocarditis can cause various symptoms such as a fever, fatigue, joint pain, and skin lesions. Additionally, there may be heart murmurs, shortness of breath, chest pain, night sweats, and unexplained weight loss. In severe cases, neurological symptoms may also develop. In severe cases, the infection can lead to heart valve damage, heart failure, stroke, and even death. Endocarditis is a medical emergency that requires prompt treatment to prevent serious complications.

Diagnosis of endocarditis is done through a combination of blood cultures, echocardiography, electrocardiogram (ECG), C-rays, and computed tomography (CT) scan or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Causes of Endocarditis

The infection is usually caused by bacteria, but it can also be caused by fungi or other microorganisms. The risk of developing endocarditis is increased in people with pre-existing heart conditions, such as heart valve problems, artificial heart valves, and congenital heart disease.

Normally, the endocardium is resistant to infection, but when the heart is damaged, such as from a heart valve defect or a congenital heart defect, bacteria or other microorganisms can enter the bloodstream and attach to the damaged heart tissue, causing an infection.

Other factors that can increase the risk of developing endocarditis include a weakened immune system, intravenous drug use, certain medical procedures, such as dental procedures, surgeries or dialysis, and a history of endocarditis.

Treatments for Endocarditis

Treatment of endocarditis involves antibiotics, which are usually given intravenously. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to replace the infected heart valve. Antibiotics are used to treat bacterial endocarditis, while antifungal medications are used to treat fungal endocarditis. In some cases, hospitalization and close monitoring may be required to manage the symptoms and prevent serious complications.

It is important to seek prompt medical attention if you experience symptoms of endocarditis. Early diagnosis and treatment can prevent complications and improve the chances of a successful outcome. In addition to medical treatment, lifestyle changes such as a healthy diet and regular exercise, as well as stress management, can help support the healing process.


Chest pain
Shortness of breath
Joint pain and stiffness
Weight loss
Loss of appetite

Confirmation Tests

- Blood cultures
- Blood test
- Echocardiogram

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