Lifestyle changes and medications can help reduce the chances of endocarditis if you are at risk. In cases where you have developed this condition, your doctor will take steps to quickly treat the infection and any damage it has caused your heart.
Emergency Medical Care
If you have been diagnosed with endocarditis you will receive high doses of IV antibiotics for between 2 and 6 weeks.
Should you be at risk for endocarditis it is important for you to monitor your dental health, avoid body piercings or tattoos, and contact your doctor immediately if you develop a skin infection or sore that does not heal.
To reduce your chances of developing endocarditis, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics before dental or medical procedures that could allow bacteria to enter your bloodstream.
Procedures & Surgery
When the infection has damaged your heart valves, surgery may be necessary. Examples of surgical therapies include:
- Heart Valve Repair may be an attractive alternative to heart valve replacement for some patients. This is more common with the mitral valve and can decrease complications while allowing for a quicker recovery.
- Heart Valve Replacement is performed using either a bioprosthetic (tissue) heart valve that is made from natural sources (eg, pig, cow or human) or a mechanical heart valve. The advantage to a bioprosthetic valve is that it does not contain metal and therefore blood thinners are not needed long term. Mechanical valves contain substances that are more likely to form blood clots and require the use of blood thinners. The advantage, however, is that they last for many years.