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As the germs that cause endocarditis multiply in the heart, they form clumps with other cells and matter found in the blood. These clumps are called vegetations. As endocarditis worsens, pieces of vegetations can break off and travel to other parts of the body. There, the pieces can block blood flow or cause a new infection. As a result, endocarditis can cause a range of complications. Heart problems are the most common complication of endocarditis. These problems may include:
  • Heart failure
  • Heart murmur
  • Heart valve damage
  • Problems with the heart’s electrical system
Rarely, endocarditis can also lead to a heart attack. The central nervous system can also be affected by endocarditis. The most common complication is when bits of the vegetation, called emboli, break away and lodge in the brain. The emboli can cause infections in the brain, strokes, or seizures. Endocarditis can also affect other organs in the body, such as the lungs, kidneys, and spleen. A vegetation or blood clot going to the lungs can cause a pulmonary embolism and lung damage. Other lung complications include pneumonia and a buildup of fluid or pus around the lungs. Kidney infections and kidney damage can also be caused by endocarditis. In some cases, endocarditis can cause kidney failure. In some people who have endocarditis, the spleen enlarges and can become damaged. The spleen is an organ located on the left side of the abdomen near the stomach. It filters the blood, stores blood cells, and destroys old blood cells.




Endocarditis, inflammation, heart lining, bacterial endocarditis, germs, bloodstream, mouth, heart valves, abnormal heart valve, damaged heart valve, mitral valve prolapse, artificial heart valve, heart defects, antibiotics, dental work, invasive medical procedure, fever, shortness of breath, fluid buildup, weight loss, infective endocarditis, IE, endocardium, bacteria, fungi, heart abnormalities, aching muscles, aching joints, chills, fever, headache, night sweats, tiredness, paleness, heart murmur, bloody urine, change in appetite, nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath, cough, swollen feet, swollen legs, swollen abdomen, vegetations, heart failure, heart valve damage, central nervous system, emboli, brain infection, stroke, seizure, pulmonary embolism, pneumonia, kidney infection, kidney damage, spleen enlarges, abdomen, stomach, blood culture, echocardiography, echo, EKG

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Last modified: April 19, 2013