Infective Endocarditis

In September 2016 our Dad was admitted to the hospital. He had been found unconscious at home. Thankfully, just before the paramedics arrived at his home he had started to regain consciousness. By the time I arrived at the hospital (my mum and sister were already there…..

Please see Infective Endocarditis which covers:

  1. Introduction to our Journey
  2. Infective Endocarditis
  3. Useful Links
  4. Our Final Words


1. Introduction to our Journey:

In September 2016 our Dad was admitted to the hospital. He had been found unconscious at home. Thankfully, just before the paramedics arrived at his home he had started to regain consciousness. By the time I arrived at the hospital (my mum and sister were already there. I was at work and left straight away when I heard the news), considering his ordeal, and physical state. He seemed almost normal. Things did not stay this way. We remained at the hospital until we had no other choice but to leave as it was past visiting hours. (We did not want to leave).

After leaving A&E our Dad was taken to undergo various scans. We were told he would be admitted to a short stay ward once these had been carried out.

When we found out where the short stay ward was, and located our Dad we were in a state of disbelief. It felt like a full complete 360 turn had happened. Our Dad was not making sense when he was talking. We raised these concerns, but were told we had to leave, we really didn’t want to as we didn’t understand the drastic change, and we didn’t understand what was wrong. It was frightening, worrying, scary we had never seen our Dad like this in our whole entire life, and this all happened so drastically.

Reluctantly we had to leave but asked for the telephone number of the ward so that we could phone and see how he was once we got home.

We phoned the ward when we got home and were told that he was okay and had eaten something. This slightly helped to ease our minds just a little. This day was the start of a whole new world and an unimaginable unforseen seven-month journey.

The next morning, thankfully our Dad seemed much better he was:

  • Talking normally
  • Understanding us
  • We could understand him
  • He was talking about us informing people he was in hospital.

Again it was like a complete 360 degree turn.

We were really pleased to see this improvement. However, we did have concerns regarding our Dad’s eyes, as they appeared very red and he kept closing them. This was not something that he would normally do.

Shortly before he was admitted I had gone to the doctor with him as he felt he might have an eye infection. (He was prescribed eye drops).

This repeated closing of the eyes along with the extreme redness was not normal and so we made sure to continuously inform the hospital staff of our concerns. Eventually and unfortunately, the Infective Endocarditis infection went into his eyes which resulted in him losing his sight. At the time this had happened to our Dad we had sourced more information regarding the infection going into the eyes. Unfortunately, despite similar searches, we could not relocate this information. We have provided what we’ve been able to source at this time (and what we feel appropriate. We did not feel we should share information with graphic images as this could potentially cause distress).


2. Infective endocarditis

Is an infection of the inner surface of the heart, usually the valves. Symptoms may include fever, small areas of bleeding into the skin, heart murmur, feeling tired, and low red blood cell count. Complications may include valvular insufficiency, heart failure, stroke, and kidney failure”.

2.1 How do you get infective endocarditis?

“How do people contract infective endocarditis? The infection can be caused by bacteria introduced into the blood stream, usually through normal activity such as tooth brushing which causes minor injury to the lining of the mouth or gums. These bacteria can lodge on heart valves and cause infection of the endocardium”.

2.2 Who is at risk for infective endocarditis?

Who is at risk for developing bacterial endocarditis? Patients most at risk of developing bacterial endocarditis include those who have: Acquired valve disease (for example, rheumatic heart disease) including mitral valve prolapse with valve regurgitation (leaking) and/or thickened valve leaflets”.

2.3 How serious is infective endocarditis?

Bacterial endocarditis is a serious condition that can sometimes lead to death. Bacterial endocarditis can also cause the bacteria to clump with cells and other things in the blood. These clumps are often called vegetation. They can travel to many parts of the body and cause problems”.

2.4 How common is infective endocarditis?

Infective endocarditis appears to be approximately twice as common in men as women. … Infective endocarditis most frequently affects individuals with heart valve damage due to rheumatic fever or birth defects of the heart (congenital heart defects) affecting heart chambers or valves”.

 What are signs of heart valve problems?

Signs and symptoms of heart valve disease may include:

  • Abnormal sound (heart murmur) when a doctor is listening to the heart beating with a stethoscope.
  • Fatigue.
  • Shortness of breath, particularly when you have been very active or when you lie down.
  • Swelling of your ankles and feet.
  • Dizziness.
  • Fainting.
  • Irregular heartbeat.

2.6 What is the most common cause of infective endocarditis

Bacterial. Staphylococcus aureus followed by Streptococci of the viridans group and coagulase negative Staphylococci are the three most common organisms responsible for infective endocarditis. Other Streptococci and Enterococci are also a frequent cause of infective endocarditis”.

What are the symptoms of infective endocarditis?

Common signs and symptoms of endocarditis include:

  • Flu-like symptoms, such as fever and chills.
  • A new or changed heart murmur, which is the heart sounds made by blood rushing through your heart.
  • Fatigue.
  • Aching joints and muscles.
  • Night sweats.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Chest pain when you breathe.

More items… 6 Mar 2018

2.7 Can Infective Endocarditis cause loss of sight?

“An individual with subacute bacterial endocarditis may experience changes in a pre-existing heart murmur or develop a new murmur. In 10% to 30% of individuals with infective endocarditis, clots lodge in the brain and may cause weakness on one side of the body, loss of vision or stroke”.

2.8 How long can you live with untreated endocarditis?

“If acute endocarditis remains untreated, it can be fatal in less than six weeks. Untreated subacute endocarditis can cause death within six weeks to one year.13 Feb 2019″.

2.8.1 Is infective endocarditis fatal?

“Untreated endocarditis is always fatal, but with early treatment, involving an aggressive use of antibiotics, most patients survive. However, it can still be fatal in older people, patients with an underlying condition, and those whose infection involves a resistant type of bacteria.22 Jan 2018.”

2.8.2 Can you recover from endocarditis?

It is a serious condition, which can be life-threatening if not treated quickly. Most people recover well with antibiotic treatment if the infection is identified and treated quickly. However, some people experience damage to the heart valves as a result of the infection, which may need to surgery to correct”.

The staff member mentioned in the attached was assigned to our Dad in the early stages of his diagnosis. She was:

  • Supportive
  • Informative
  • Helpful

In the times this staff member visited our Dad, this made a massive welcomed difference to us, dealing with:

  • Someone who was showing  what seemed to us to be genuine concern
  • Someone outside of the medical team that could give us a different perspective on things

2.8.3 What are the chances of surviving endocarditis?

“Infective endocarditis is associated with substantial morbidity and mortality. Several published studies have reported in-hospital mortality of 15 percent to 20 percent and 1-year mortality of 40 percent. In the United States alone, approximately 15,000 new cases of infective endocarditis are diagnosed each year.24 Nov 2011″.

2.8.4 How long does it take to get rid of endocarditis?

“Depending on the severity of your condition, you’ll usually have to take antibiotics for 2 to 6 weeks. Your doctor will usually take a blood sample before prescribing antibiotics to make sure you’re given the most effective treatment”.

2.8.5  How is endocarditis prevented?

“Good oral health is generally more effective in reducing your risk of bacterial endocarditis than is taking preventive antibiotics before certain procedures. Take good care of your teeth and gums by: Seeking professional dental care every six months. Regularly brushing and flossing your teeth.”

In our situation, our Dad had issues with his gums and so required dentures. The dentures that were made for him never fitted accurately despite numerous moulds being made for him. He visited the dentist and hospital regularly because of these reasons, however, unfortunately, it was never diagnosed until that fatal day on 5th September 2016.


3. Some useful links:

Infective Endocarditis:

Dental Health and Infective Endocarditis:


4. Our Final words:

From this experience we were shocked by what we have learnt. A serious life threatning Heart infection can start from your gums. We know it is important to have hygiene of all kinds and look out for the body, but this brought it to light in abundance. This condition contributed to us wanting to share our knowledge.  We feel it is highly important that people are aware of this serious life threatning condition.


43 thoughts on “Infective Endocarditis

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