Endocarditis is a life-threatening condition wherein the inner lining of the heart’s valves and chambers become inflamed. The lining is known as the endocardium. Endocarditis occurs due to an infection, when fungi, bacteria or other germs enter the bloodstream and attach themselves to damaged parts of the heart. If you have artificial heart valves, damaged heart valves or any other heart defect, you are likely to get the condition of endocarditis. Endocarditis holds the potential to destroy or damage the heart valves when treatment is delayed or ignored.
Make Doctor Online/Offline Consultation Easy with Symptom Awareness
When you book an appointment with a cardiologist in Chennai, you will be asked to list some symptoms of the condition. Endocarditis can develop gradually or even all of a sudden. This is correlated to the type of germ triggering the infection and if the patient has any pre-existing condition. Resultantly, the symptoms can vary from individual to individual. Certain common symptoms are:
- Chest pain at the time of breathing
- Flu-like symptoms such as chills and fever
- Shortness of breath
- Swelling in legs, feet or belly
- Night sweats
- Murmuring sound in the heart
Less common symptoms include:
- Blood in urine
- Rapid weight loss
- Tenderness around the spleen area, under the left rib cage
- Red, brown or purple flat spots on the soles of the feet or palms of hands
- Red or purple patches or bumps of darkened skin on tips of toes or fingers. These generally tend to be painful
- Tiny purple, brown or red round spots on the skin, within the mouth or in the whites of the eyes
Causes of Endocarditis as Explained by Doctor Online
As explained above according to doctor online, endocarditis is caused by an infection from a bacteria, fungus or germ. Sometimes dental procedures like tooth extraction and endoscopic examinations enable bacteria to invade the bloodstream. Other times, bacteria from the skin, mouth, intestines, urinary tract or respiratory system can enter the bloodstream when the infected person was:
- Brushing their teeth
- Flossing teeth
Once the bacteria enters your bloodstream, it forms colonies, grows vegetation, produces enzymes, destroys the surrounding tissue and opens the path for further infections. A well-functioning heart valve is resistant to such an infection but if the surface of the valve is diseased, the bacteria can become attached to the defects on the surface.
The Target Group for Endocarditis
People who are highly vulnerable to developing endocarditis are as follows:
- Those who have previously had bacterial endocarditis
- People having acquired valve disorder including mitral valve prolapse with valve regurgitation or with thick valve leaflets
- People with congenital heart issues since birth
- Those having a pacemaker
- People with suppressed immunity
- Having a history of intravenous drug abuse habit
Diagnosis for Endocarditis by Expert Cardiologist in Chennai
When you are consulting a professional cardiologist in Chennai, they will take into consideration the following factors before giving their final diagnosis:
- Confirm that the symptoms you have are of endocarditis
- Get results of physical examination
- Ask you to carry out the following diagnostic tests
- Blood tests: Substances like C-reactive protein show whether you have any inflammation
- Blood cultures: This kind of diagnostic test helps to reveal the presence of microorganisms or bacteria. Blood cultures which are generally collected over time enable the laboratory to identify the bacteria that could be the cause of the infection. To ensure the success rate of the diagnosis, the lab needs to collect your blood culture samples before you start your antibiotic course.
- Blood count: This helps to notify the provider whether you have an abnormally high presence of white blood cells. This deviation helps indicate an infection.
- Echocardiogram: This is an ultrasound of the heart and reveals growths on the valves, abscesses, any leakage, stenosis or narrowing or any indication that the artificial heart valve has started to pull away from the heart tissue.
- PET (Positron Emission Tomography) Scan: This kind of scan uses radioactive material to create images identifying the infection’s location.
How is Endocarditis Treated by a Cardiologist in Chennai?
Endocarditis is a life-threatening condition and once you get infected by it, you will need to undergo treatment at the earliest to prevent damage to heart valves and other serious complications that can pose a serious threat to your life.
Once the blood culture sample has been collected by the laboratory and submitted to your doctor, they will recommend you to embark on intravenous antibiotic therapy right away. They will make use of a broad-spectrum antibiotic course to cover up the suspected bacterial infection as much as possible. After your doctor gets clarity about the organism species they are dealing with, they will adjust the antibiotic course to target it. Generally, the specialist cardiologist in Chennai will prescribe a six-week IV antibiotic course to you to manage the infection.
The provider will monitor the symptoms throughout the therapy to check whether the treatment is working, they can ask you to repeat blood cultures if required. If endocarditis has already damaged the heart valve or any other part of the heart, you will need surgery to resolve the situation and restore the functioning of the heart.
How to Prevent Bacterial Endocarditis?
When you consult any top cardiologist in Chennai or any doctor online, they will ask the vulnerable groups as listed above to follow a few guidelines for safety measures:
- Notify the dental and medical doctors that you suffer from heart disorder and could be at risk of bacterial infection
- Take antibiotics prior to dental procedures that relate to gum or periapical manipulation of the teeth or perforation of oral mucosa
- Consult with your doctor online about the kind and amount of antibiotics you ought to be taking
Consult a reputed cardiologist in Chennai if you notice any of the symptoms mentioned above or if you fall under any other vulnerable groups listed. If you have queries about your health or are suffering from any heart disease currently, you can set up a consultation with a doctor online and gather more knowledge about bacterial endocarditis and how to prevent or treat it.