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What Increases Your Risk?

If you have a normal  heart, you have a low risk for endocarditis. But if you have a problem with your heart that affects normal blood flow through the heart, it is more likely that bacteria or fungi will attach to heart tissue. This puts you at a higher risk for endocarditis.

You have a higher risk of endocarditis if you have:

  • Had endocarditis in the past
  • Certain congenital heart defects
  • Abnormal or damaged heart valves from diseases like rheumatic fever
  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
  • Artificial heart valve (or valves)
  • Device in your heart like pacemaker or defibrillator
  • Catheter (tube) in a blood vessel for a prolonged period
  • Hemodialysis for kidney failure, especially if done through a catheter
  • Intravenous illegal drug use
  • HIV

Talk to your health care professional if you have any signs of infection that last for many days, especially if you have a heart condition. Common signs:

  • Fever
  • Sweats (especially night sweats)
  • Chills
  • Rash on skin
  • Non-healing wound

You may also experience other symptoms that should prompt you to call your health care team:

  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Leg swelling
  • Fatigue
  • Body aches
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Pain in your abdomen

In preparation for your health visit, write down your symptoms and note how long you have had them. Also, make a list of all your medical problems including any recent procedures like dental procedures. Make a list all the questions you want to ask your doctor.

  • Last Edited 08/31/2017