Endocarditis (bacterial infection) cardiology

Treatment of Endocarditis

Treatment of endocarditis usually begins in the hospital under the care of an infectious disease specialist and a cardiologist. Antibiotics are the main treatment to kill the bacteria or fungus growing on the heart valve.

Treatment is started in the hospital with antibiotic medications that are given to the patient through a tube that delivers the dose to the body through the blood vessels known as veins. This tubing is called an intravenous line and this can be placed in a medium-sized vein in the arm or in a large vein in the neck. If the patient is very sick, intensive care may be necessary.

Treatment usually lasts 4-8 weeks and depends on the type of bacteria or fungus growing on the valve and the type of valve infected. Since the treatment can last up to eight weeks, you may complete the course of medications at home after you are stable and the fever has broken. When at home, you will likely have a nurse service come to administer the antibiotic medications. 

A cardiothoracic surgeon may be asked to surgically repair or replace your heart valve if there is a fungal infection or damage to the heart valve that causes your heart not to work properly. In some cases, surgery may also be needed to prevent a stroke.

Principal of treatment:

The type and length of treatment depends on the following:

  • Type of valve infected (artificial valve or your own natural valve)
  • Type of organism infecting the valve (bacteria or fungi)
  • Symptoms and severity of illness

Goals of treatment:

  • Remove organism causing the infection
  • Repair or replace damaged heart valves if needed
  • Treat complications

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