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Endocarditis occurs when the inner lining of the heart is infected. The infection starts in the bloodstream and spreads to the heart. The specialists at Lehigh Valley Health Network’s Heart and Vascular Center have the experience to provide quality care for endocarditis. Our heart program is the fifth largest in Pennsylvania. Because we care for a large number of people, our doctors have the experience needed to achieve the best results.
Bacteria cause most cases of endocarditis, but viruses, fungi and other microorganisms also can lead to the condition. For instance, surgical procedures and dental procedures that have bleeding risks may allow bacteria to enter the bloodstream. Medical conditions such as skin sores, gum diseases or intestinal disorders also may increase the risk for developing a bacterial infection in the blood.
Left untreated, endocarditis can damage the heart valves and permanently damage the lining of the heart. If the heart suffers permanent damage, it may lead to heart failure, which is fatal. However, most patients who are diagnosed and treated promptly have a full recovery.