Information for Patients
Endocarditis, also called infective endocarditis (IE), is an inflammation of the inner lining of the heart. The most common type, bacterial endocarditis, occurs when germs enter your heart. These germs come through your bloodstream from another part of your body, often your mouth. Bacterial endocarditis can damage your heart valves. If untreated, it can be life-threatening. It is rare in healthy hearts.
Risk factors include having
- An abnormal or damaged heart valve
- An artificial heart valve
- Congenital heart defects
The signs and symptoms of IE can vary from person to person. They also can vary over time in the same person. Symptoms you might notice include fever, shortness of breath, fluid buildup in your arms or legs, tiny red spots on your skin, and weight loss. Your doctor will diagnose IE based on your risk factors, medical history, signs and symptoms, and lab and heart tests.
Early treatment can help you avoid complications. Treatment usually involves high-dose antibiotics. If your heart valve is damaged, you may need surgery.
If you're at risk for IE, brush and floss your teeth regularly, and have regular dental checkups. Germs from a gum infection can enter your bloodstream. If you are at high risk, your doctor might prescribe antibiotics before dental work and certain types of surgery.
NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
Listeriosis is a foodborne illness caused by Listeria monocytogenes, bacteria found in soil and water. It can be in a variety of raw foods as well as in processed foods and foods made from unpasteurized milk. Listeria is unlike many other germs because it can grow even in the cold temperature of the refrigerator.
Symptoms include fever and chills, headache, upset stomach and vomiting. Treatment is with antibiotics.
Anyone can get the illness. But it is most likely to affect pregnant women and unborn babies, older adults, and people with weak immune systems. To reduce your risk
- Use precooked and ready-to-eat foods as soon as you can
- Avoid raw milk and raw milk products
- Heat ready-to-eat foods and leftovers until they are steaming hot
- Wash fresh fruits and vegetables
- Avoid rare meat and refrigerated smoked seafood
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention