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Diagnosing endocarditis is a relatively straightforward process. Your doctor will review your medical history, perform a physical exam and review the results of blood cultures, which can identify bacteria or fungus that is causing the infection. Your doctor may also use:

  • Echocardiogram is a non-invasive test using ultrasound (sound waves) and a device called a transducer — which is placed on the surface of the chest — to create a moving picture of the heart. This test provides views of the valve opening and heart chambers.
  • Transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE) uses sound waves (ultrasound) to create detailed pictures of your heart valves. Unlike echocardiogram, TEE uses a probe that is passed through the mouth and into the esophagus. This provides a better picture because the esophagus is right behind the heart and the probe does not have to penetrate the chest wall in the ribs and lungs to get a clear picture.
  • Blood tests to identify bacteria in the bloodstream.