Infective endocarditis includes subacute bacterial endocarditis. The lining of the cardiac valves is attacked by bacteria that enter the bloodstream, resulting in an infection. As a result, the heart valves develop growths known as vegetation. Plant life has the potential to damage valves and disseminate an infection away from the cardiovascular system and blood vessels. If endocarditis is left untreated, it is lethal. Acute or subacute infectious endocarditis is also possible. Acute infective endocarditis can appear overnight and progress to life-threatening levels in a matter of days. Subacute infective endocarditis takes several weeks to months to develop gradually.
A type of infectious endocarditis, or contamination of the endocardium, or coating of the heart, is subacute bacterial endocarditis (SBE). Infectious endocarditis can potentially affect your heart’s valves. Subacute bacterial endocarditis can have signs and issues that impact your entire body in addition to potentially causing catastrophic harm to your heart tissue. It’s typically a condition that is avoidable.
If it arises, it needs to be treated right away to prevent further damage to your heart. Your heart valves don’t receive direct blood flow. White blood cells in your bloodstream help your body’s defenses fight infections. Your heart valves are out of reach for these cells. Due to this, using antibodies or bloodstream-active antibiotics to treat the illness becomes challenging.
Subacute bacterial endocarditis is typically brought on by a bacterial infection. Following endoscopic inspections and dental procedures (particularly tooth extractions), bacteria might enter your circulatory system. It’s possible for germs from the surface of your skin, intestines, respiratory system, or urine system to sometimes enter your circulation if you’re:
- Teeth whitening.
- Tooth flossing.
Subacute bacterial endocarditis may result from this. The bacteria swiftly form colonies, generate vegetation, and release enzymes that degrade the tissue nearby and pave the way for infiltration. It is extremely difficult for a viral infection to propagate through healthy heart valves. Nevertheless, bacteria can stick to imperfections on the surface of unhealthy valves. Healthy heart valves are less likely to be impacted by infection than prosthetic heart valves.
Signs and Symptoms:
A lot of the primary indicators of subacute bacterial endocarditis, like pain and fever, are typical of other illnesses. However, don’t wait to contact your doctor right away if you start to encounter these symptoms. Subacute bacterial endocarditis’ more obvious symptoms include:
- Unknown chills or fever
- Aches in muscles and joints
- Morning sweats
- Slight increase in heart rate
- Slim down
- Reduction in appetite
- A lack of energy, back or chest pain, or skin rashes
Inflammation of the cardiac valve causes the leaflet tissue to be destroyed, the valve to leak, and heart failure. A pustule with rupture within the heart’s chambers may arise from infection spreading to nearby tissue near the valve. Emboli (clots) caused by infective endocarditis have the potential to cause significant harm. The position of the clot affects the symptoms. Clots that lodge in the brain in 20–40% of people with subacute bacterial endocarditis can result in stroke, blindness, or weakness on one side of the body. Additionally, clots may result in flank pain, pain in the abdomen, or inadequate circulation in an extremity. An eye doctor may detect Roth spots, which are areas of bleeding in the eye’s back. Clot-related damage might be either short-term or long-term.
Your doctor will examine you physically, look over your medical history, and listen to your symptoms. You might also require extra tests, such as the ones listed below.
- Blood samples. Blood samples are taken over the course of 24 hours, and the presence of particular bacteria is checked. Determining the type of bacteria present will assist your doctor in selecting the most effective medication to treat Subacute Bacterial Endocarditis.
- With the aid of sound waves, your doctor can see your heart during this test. Any anomalies, such as growths, abscesses, or heart damage, will be visible. The images can be taken directly behind the heart by inserting a tube through your mouth
- Serological evaluations. These blood tests look for signs of infection by monitoring the activity of your immune system. If the blood cultures don’t reveal any indications of bacteria, this might be required.
Treatment for Subacute Bacterial Endocarditis:
The removal of all pathogens from the vegetation, typically on the heart valve, is necessary for the treatment of bacterial endocarditis. Almost always, subacute bacterial endocarditis necessitates hospitalization for antibiotic therapy, which is typically administered intravenously, at least initially. Over 70% of patients become afebrile (fever-free) within one week of starting a suitable antibiotic medication, which is how quickly most patients recover from infections. Occasionally, home oral antibiotic therapy will be effective. Typically, antibiotic treatment must last for at least one month. Surgery might be required in rare circumstances to fix or replace a broken heart valve.
To treat subacute bacterial endocarditis, which won’t go away with antibiotics alone, you could need heart valve surgery. Your heart valve might need to be replaced if bacterial endocarditis damages it. Bacterial endocarditis can be lethal if it is not properly managed. The infectious agent determines this. Further harm to a heart valve, even after treatment, may result in heart failure. Blood clots may also develop and move via the circulatory system to the cerebral cortex or lungs. You should be honest with your dentist or doctor about any endocarditis-associated risks you may have.
Precautions for Subacute Bacterial Endocarditis:
Your chance of developing subacute bacterial endocarditis can be decreased by regularly practicing good oral hygiene habits. In general, maintaining good dental health is more helpful than taking preventative antibiotics before certain surgeries in lowering your risk of developing subacute bacterial endocarditis. Ensure the health of your mouth and gums by:
- Every six months, seek professional dental care.
- Regularly polish and maintain your teeth.
- Ensure that your dentures fit comfortably.