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Endocarditis is a serious infection of the lining inside your heart, usually caused by a bacterial infection. Fungi may also cause endocarditis, but this is rare. Endocarditis can permanently damage the heart and require you to undergo major surgery to repair damage. It also puts you at a higher risk of heart failure or contracting endocarditis again in the future.

Endocarditis most often occurs in people with a congenital heart defect that affects the structure of their heart, such as aortic valve stenosis. If you have had a heart valve replaced with a prosthetic valve, you are also at higher risk.

The symptoms of endocarditis, such as high fever and chills, start like any other infection. However, other symptoms indicate that the infection is in your heart. When your heart is not functioning properly, your kidneys cannot get rid of the fluid in your body, causing swelling in the hands and feet. You may also experience shortness of breath even after moderate activity.

The first areas to be affected by poor heart function are often your extremities. You may notice bleeding under your nails, called splinter hemorrhages, or patches of redness on your palms and soles of your feet, called Janeway lesions. Osler’s nodes may also form, which are painful red bumps on the pads of your fingers and toes.

If you experience any of these symptoms, seek medical attention. Quicker care means less heart damage. Indiana University Health physicians provide expert care for endocarditis, using the latest treatment options and powerful antibiotics to stop the infection from further damaging your heart. Our infectious diseases specialists work directly with leading cardiologists and cardiothoracic surgeons so you receive high quality care from diagnosis, to treatment, to recovery. 

How We Can Help

How We Can Help

Endocarditis Treatment Information

IU Health Infectious Diseases physicians provide expert treatment and diagnosis of endocarditis to minimize the damage to the heart.

Endocarditis Locations & Physicians

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Endocarditis Support Services

If you or a family member is at risk of endocarditis, learn more about preventing the condition at the reputable websites below.