If your doctor suspects you have endocarditis, he or she may order certain tests to confirm the diagnosis. Tests include:
- Blood tests, in particular a "blood culture" to check for the presence of bacteria in your bloodstream. The results, which can take a few days to receive, also provide information about what medicine should be used to treat the type
of bacteria causing the infection.
- An ultrasound of the heart (transthoracic echocardiogram) to check for endocarditis. A probe is placed on your chest while you are lying down and images are taken. A physician looks closely at the heart valves to determine if they
are infected. Infection of the valves may appear as a growth on the valve, which may not be working properly.
If the transthoracic echocardiogram fails to confirm an infection, you may have another type of heart ultrasound, called a transesophageal echocardiogram. For this procedure, you are given medications to help you relax. A probe is passed down the esophagus
(food pipe). This provides clear images of the heart valves because the heart lies directly in front of the esophagus.