Endocarditis is a rare and potentially fatal infection of the inner lining of the heart (the endocardium). It's most commonly caused by bacteria entering the blood and travelling to the heart.
Although the heart is usually well protected against infection,it may be easier for bacteria to bypassthe immune system in people who have:
People who inject drugs are also more likely to develop endocarditis.
You'll need to be admitted to hospital for this.
Around one in five people also need surgery to repair or replace a damaged heart valve or drain away any abscesses that develop.
Endocarditis is a serious illness, especially if complications develop. Even with the highest standard of medical care the risk of dying is around one in five. Early diagnosis and treatment is vital to improve the outlook for the condition.
Endocarditis is a rare condition in England, even in those with a higher risk. It's estimated to affect around one in every 3,000 people every year.
Endocarditis is more common in older people, with half of all cases developing in people aged over 50. However, cases of endocarditis have been recorded in children, particularly those born with congenital heart disease. Twice as many men are affected as women.
Although it may sound strange, rates of endocarditis are increasing because of advances in medical care. This is due to an increasing number of people being treated with valve replacement surgery or surgery to repair congenital heart disease.
Endocarditis is a rare and potentially fatal type of heart infection. It's specifically an infection of the inner lining of the heart (the endocardium).
Common symptoms of endocarditis include a high temperature (fever), chills, loss of appetite and unexplained weight loss
If your heart valves are damaged, or if you have an artificial valve, it will be easier for bacteria to take root and trigger an infection.
To diagnose endocarditis, your GP will look closely at your medical history, paying particular attention to any problems that you may have had with your heart.
Most cases of endocarditis can be treated with a course of antibiotics though you may have to be admitted to hospital
If you have an increased risk of developing endocarditis, it is important that you limit your exposure to any infection that could trigger it.