All news 24.11.2017

Prompt Endocarditis Treatment Requires Only Antibiotics

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"Do not underestimate the symptoms, surgery is needed in more severe cases", warns Dr. Martina Raleva, a cardiologist at Acibadem City Clinic Burgas

"Endocarditis is an inflammation of the inner lining of the heart. The disease may vary in length and severity, and the most dangerous consequence is a damage to the heart valves", says Dr. Martina Raleva, a cardiologist at Acibadem City Clinic Burgas.

Endocarditis appears to be rheumatic or infectious. If former, fever may be insignificant, a patient may feel relatively well, and no illness can be noticed. The duration of its course is usually several months. The mild forms of endocarditis can resolve in weeks. Sometimes endocarditis occurs with sub-febrile (a constant fever up to 38 ºC ) fever and minor clinical symptoms.

If latter, in most cases, it caused by staph infections – it can penetrate the body during the course of dental or medical procedures. Infection of the heart is directly dependent on the level of oral hygiene, so it has to be observed. Endocarditis can be caused by bacteria in the mouth and the upper respiratory tract. Inflammatory bowel diseases or intestinal disorders are among its risks, too.

With a minor inflammation, the damaged tissue is completely restored and the heart works normally. And if the treatment is adequate, the patient has a 90% chance of achieving a complete recovery. Treatment with antibiotics in most cases is quite sufficient. Patients can usually go home as soon as their temperature returns to normal. Antibiotic treatment continues for some time and can only be stopped after a checkup and doctor's advice.

In case of untimely treatment risks for complications are much greater. There are cases where changes and especially ulcerative damages in the valves have altered their construction so their complete restoration is impossible. In the recovery process, fibrous tissue develops, and the valves cannot retain their original structure and they get deformed. A patient may experience heart failure or arrhythmia. It is very dangerous for the infection to pass further all over the body, damaging vital organs, causing life-threatening abscesses. In more severe cases, surgical intervention is required. Indeed, surgery treatment is used if the valves are irreversibly deformed or the patient is not affected by medication.

Patients with previous heart diseases are at risk of endocarditis the most. The risk group includes people with a heart surgery, a pacemaker, or rheumatism that has damaged a heart valve. Patients with bacterial diseases such as meningitis or pneumonia, diabetics, cancer patients receiving chemotherapy, and HIV-infected patients are pre-disposed for endocarditis, too.

This is an extremely serious illness making more and more people disabled. The earlier it is discovered, the better the forecast of its treatment. “Do not underestimate the symptoms and do not try any self-treatment”, appealed Dr. Raleva.