Is Endocarditis Treatable?
Though it attacks one of the most vital organs in the body, in many cases, endocarditis can be treated with simple antibiotics. But in more serious cases, a physician may prescribe surgery. This is to clean up the area where the bacteria has spread—ensuring that it doesn’t recur, or to replace a damaged valve.
For artificial valve replacement, it can either be mechanical or formed from cow, pig or human tissue.
How Is Endocarditis Diagnosed?
First, you must remember that you cannot diagnose yourself, and that you cannot diagnose it at home.
So how is endocarditis diagnosed? Typically, your doctor will perform a physical exam along with a review of the patient’s medical history. Based on that, he or she will then have a suspicion if it is endocarditis or not. Your doctor may then order several blood tests to help confirm the diagnosis.
Blood culture tests will help identify as to what is the causative agent of your condition. Depending on the organism, the doctor will prescribe the best antibiotic treatment for you.
In addition to a blood culture test, your doctor may request the following:
- Echocardiogram. A test that uses sound waves to produce an image of your heart, which can help check for structure of the heart that might be affected by the infection.
- Electrocardiogram (ECG). This scan can detect irregularities in your heart’s electrical activity, confirming possible damage to the heart valve.
- Chest x-ray. This is used to check if the infection has spread to your lungs, and whether your heart has become enlarged due to infection.
- CT (computerized tomography) scan or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging). For more serious infections, an MRI or CT scan may be required to check whether it has spread to other vital parts of the body like your brain.