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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 and other conditions that weaken the immune system
  • Chronic immunosuppression, including medications used to treat systemic inflammatory and autoimmune conditions

When to Call Your Health Care Team

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

  • Last Edited 05/21/2024