Munson Health
Bacterial Endocarditis

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by Wood D

(Infective Endocarditis)



The endocardium is a thin layer of membrane (tissue) that covers the inner surface of the heart. Bacterial endocarditis is an infection of this membrane. Infection occurs when bacteria attach to the membrane and grow.
Bacterial Endocarditis
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The infection can also cause growths on the valves or other areas of the heart. Pieces of these growths can break off and travel to other parts of the body. This can cause serious complications.

Risk Factors

The following conditions put you at greater risk during certain procedures:
The conditions listed above increase your risk of the infection with certain activities such as:
  • IV drug use; risk is very high when needles are shared
  • Any dental procedure, even cleanings
  • Removal of tonsils or adenoids, and other procedures involving the ears, nose, and throat
  • Bronchoscopy (viewing the airways though a thin, lighted tube)
  • Surgery on the gastrointestinal or urinary tracks, including the gallbladder and prostate


Tests may include:


American Dental Association

American Heart Association



Canadian Dental Association

Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada



Antibiotic prophylaxis. American Dental Association website. Available at: Accessed November 12, 2012.

Bacterial endocarditis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Updated September 5, 2012. Accessed November 12, 2012.

Bonow RO, Carabello BA, Chatterjee K, et al. ACC/AHA 2006 guidelines for the management of patients with valvular heart disease. A report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2006;48:e1.

Hoen B. Epidemiology and antibiotic treatment of infective endocarditis: an update. Heart. 2006;92:1694-1700. Review.

Infective endocarditis. American Heart Association website. Available at: Accessed November 12, 2012.


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