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What is bacterial (infective) endocarditis (BE)?

Infective endocarditis (IE) is an infection caused by bacteria that enter the bloodstream and get into the heart lining, a heart valve or a blood vessel. Previously, the main risk factor for IE was rheumatic heart disease, but research has since shown that other risk factors have gained prominence, including injection drug use (IDU), prosthetic valve infection, degenerative valvular disease and hemodialysis. People with active injection drug use who undergo surgery for infective endocarditis have a 10-fold increased risk of reoperation or death between three and six months after surgery when compared to non-drug abusers.
Infective endocarditis (IE) is a rare but serious infection of the heart's inner lining or valves. It occurs when bacteria enter the bloodstream and travel to the heart. Bacteria are normally found in various places in the body, including on the skin and in the mouth.
Susie Whitworth
Nursing
Bacterial endocarditis is a life-threatening infection of the endocardium of the heart. It is caused by bacteria that infect the heart. The infection usually develops when the person has a pre-existing heart defect. In order for this disorder to develop, a damaged endocardial surface must be present and there must be a portal of entry for the bacteria. This disorder can also develop in IV drug users.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.