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Your cardiovascular system is made up of the heart and the blood vessels that transport blood all throughout your body. The heart, which is a large fist-sized muscle, is the core of your cardiovascular system. Located leftward in your chest, the heart works as a pump for the blood, which delivers oxygen and nutrients to your body’s cells while carrying away waste products.
Introduction
 
Endocarditis is an inflammation of the inner lining of the heart valves and chambers, known as the endocardium. It can occur after a fungal or bacterial infection or from unknown causes. Endocarditis causes several symptoms that, if left untreated, may lead to potentially fatal medical complications. Therefore, early diagnosis and treatment is extremely important.
 
Anatomy
 
Your cardiovascular system is made up of the heart and the blood vessels that transport blood all throughout your body. The heart, which is a large fist-sized muscle, is the core of your cardiovascular system. Located leftward in your chest, the heart works as a pump for the blood, which delivers oxygen and nutrients to your body’s cells while carrying away waste products.
 
A thick wall, called the septum, divides your heart into four sections called chambers. The upper two chambers, called atria, receive incoming blood to the heart, while the bottom chambers, called ventricles, send blood outward from the heart.
 
Your heart manages dual pumping systems with one on the left side and one on the right side. The left side’s system comprises the left ventricle and left atrium. When you breathe in, your lungs infuse your blood with new oxygen. Your left atrium receives this newly oxygenated blood and moves it to the left ventricle, which sends it out from your heart to circulate all through the rest of your body.
 
The right side’s pumping system is composed of the right ventricle and right atrium. Deoxygenated blood that has finished circulating throughout the body comes back to the right atrium, which then sends it to the right ventricle. The blood is then sent by the right ventricle to the lungs, where it will receive a fresh supply of oxygen when you inhale.
 
Four valves prevent blood from flowing backward as it travels through the chambers of the heart. The tricuspid and mitral valves control flow from the atria to the ventricles, while the pulmonary and aortic valves regulate blood as it departs the ventricles.
 
Several big arteries branch out from your heart and turn into smaller veins as they flow throughout the body. Arteries and veins are different types of blood vessels; the former carries oxygenated blood outward from the heart while the latter carries deoxygenated blood back into your heart.
 
Causes
 
Endocarditis is most frequently caused by bacterial infection. However, it can also result from fungal infections or unknown reasons. Most people that suffer from endocarditis have congenital heart disease, heart valve disease, or a history of heart surgery. Endocarditis can occur after surgery or dental procedures, and is also associated with tattooing, body piercing, intravenous drug use, and sexually transmitted diseases.
 
Symptoms
 
Endocarditis can cause many symptoms that either develop suddenly or slowly. You may experience flu-like symptoms such as chills, fever, weight loss, poor appetite, night sweats, weakness, tiredness, muscle aches, and joint pain.
 
Endocarditis may also produce sudden symptoms such as intense chills, high fever, and vomiting. You may have shortness of breath with activity, swollen feet, legs, and abdomen, urine that contains blood or looks a different color, pale skin, rashes, enlarged fingertips, and some bleeding under your fingernails. 
 
Diagnosis
 
If you suspect that you have endocarditis, contact your doctor immediately so they can review your medical history and perform a physical exam and corresponding tests. Inform your doctor about possible risk factors, like recent surgery or dental procedures. Using a stethoscope, your doctor will listen to your heart to check if you have a heart murmur. They will also check your blood for signs fo infection.
 
Your heart functioning and structure can be checked with several methods, such as a chest X-ray, echocardiogram, or electrocardiogram. 
 
Treatment
 
Some cases will require hospitalization and treatment of infections with intravenous antibiotics. Afterward, you may require a long-term regimen of antibiotics. If heart damage or serious complications occur, surgery may be necessary.
 
Prevention
 
It is crucial to immediately contact your doctor if you suspect having endocarditis. As a step for prevention, you should receive antibiotics before any surgery or dental treatments if you are at risk for endocarditis.
 
Am I At Risk
 
Though anyone can develop endocarditis, people with congenital heart disease, heart valve disease, or a history of heart surgery have the highest likelihood of developing the condition. Bacterial inflections after surgery or dental procedures may cause endocarditis. People at risk for endocarditis must ensure that they receive antibiotics before dental work or surgery. Intravenous drug abusers are at a higher risk if they do not use clean needles. 
 
Complications
 
Early diagnosis and treatment is important for controlling endocarditis with the best results. Delayed treatment could cause life-threatening complications such as stroke, blood clots, and congestive heart failure.