Blood culture tests will help in identifying the bacteria that is causing the infection. 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 signs of 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.
Typically, the ill patient will spend a few days to a week in the hospital to receive IV antibiotics. He will be placed under medical supervision to ensure that he responds positively to the treatment. Antibiotic therapy can later be continued at home for another couple of weeks.
How can you lower your risk of endocarditis?
As endocarditis is caused by bacteria, fungi, or microorganisms, you can follow a few preventive measures to minimize your risk of developing an infection that can cause endocarditis:
- Maintain good dental health by regularly going to your dentist, and brushing and flossing regularly.
- Avoid getting tattoos and body piercings, which can lead to skin infections.
- Immediately clean wounds and take care of open sores.
If you notice symptoms that may point to endocarditis, consult your doctor immediately.
Learn more about heart health, here.