Other Names for this Disease
- Endocarditis, infective
Your QuestionI have endocarditis for the fourth time. Each time it has been caused by the same bacteria. How can I prevent reinfection?
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- An artificial heart valve or who have had a heart valve repaired with artificial material
- A history of endocarditis
- A heart transplant with abnormal heart valve function
- Certain congenital heart defects including:
- Cyanotic congenital heart disease (birth defects with oxygen levels lower than normal), that has not been fully repaired, including children who have had a surgical shunts and conduits
- A congenital heart defect that's been completely repaired with artificial material or a device for the first six months after the repair procedure
- Repaired congenital heart disease with residual defects, such as persisting leaks or abnormal flow at or adjacent to a prosthetic patch or prosthetic device
Some congenital heart defects can be successfully repaired surgically and the person will no longer be at risk for endocarditis. Examples include:
- Ventricular septal defect — The opening between the heart’s two lower chambers can be closed.
- Atrial septal defect — The opening between the heart’s two upper chambers can be closed.
- Patent ductus arteriosus — The open passageway between the artery to the lungs and the large artery that takes blood from the heart to the body is closed.
People who have had endocarditis before are at high risk of getting it again. This is true even when they don’t have heart disease. Recurrent endocarditis is defined as repeated episodes of infection separated by intervals of at least 6 months or caused by different microorganisms. The number of individuals with recurrent IE is increasing as a result of improved treatment. It has been found that underlying abnormalities in cardiac structure and active intravenous drug abuse are associated with increased risk of recurrent IE. It has been proposed that failure to destroy a local area of bacteria may be responsible for recurrent IE caused by the same microorganism. Prolonged survival of individuals with recurrent IE is generally attributable to intense workups and early antimicrobial treatment, as well as prompt surgical intervention.
- What Is Bacterial Endocarditis?. American Heart Association. 2007; http://www.heart.org/idc/groups/heart-public/@wcm/@hcm/documents/downloadable/ucm_300297.pdf. Accessed 2/27/2011.
- Infective Endocarditis. American Heart Association. January 24, 2011; http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/CongenitalHeartDefects/TheImpactofCongenitalHeartDefects/Infective-Endocarditis_UCM_307108_Article.jsp. Accessed 2/27/2011.
- Lossos IS, Oren R. Recurrent infective endocarditis. Postgraduate Medical Journal. October 1993; 69(816):816-818. http://chestjournal.chestpubs.org/content/76/5/592.long. Accessed 2/27/2011.