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Heart Infection Symptoms

Medically reviewed by Lauren Labrador, MD, FPCP, DPCC · Cardiology

Written by Hello Doctor Medical Panel · Updated Sep 01, 2022

Heart Infection Symptoms

The overall survival rate for infective endocarditis, a type of heart infection, is 75% at 6 months and 57% at 5 years; the annual instantaneous risk of death was 0.55 at 6 months, 0.18 at 1 year, and then 0.03 after that. [1]. You and your family can increase your chances of survival by being aware of heart infection symptoms.

What Are the Symptoms of Heart Infection?

The following frequent symptoms are often present in heart infections, though they can vary from person to person and depend on the disease:

Chest pain

Although some patients experience dull, achy, or pressure-like chest pain, pericarditis discomfort typically appears beneath the breastbone or on the left side of the chest. It usually feels sharp or stabbing.


An appointment with your doctor should be made if your fatigue has persisted for two or more weeks despite your best efforts to rest, reduce stress, choose a healthy diet, and drink plenty of fluids. Additionally, studies have linked chronic fatigue with several heart problems, such as the fact that many people who experience chronic fatigue also have left ventricular dysfunction.


Fever of more than 38 C should be the first manifestation as it is the most common (95%). Still, as there might be various reasons behind increased body temperature, one should not immediately assume a heart infection if they develop fever.


Also known as fluid accumulation, in the legs, ankles, feet, or abdomen. Heart failure causes the body to retain fluid, which can result in edema, which is swelling brought on by an excess of fluid, and can affect many body areas, including the ankles and feet.

Joint pain or body aches

Researchers conducted a meta-analysis of nearly 100,000 patients and 19 studies for a study that was published in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, the journal of the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR), and found significant correlations between the incidence of heart disease and rheumatoid arthritis.

Night sweats

Women may mistake this symptom for a menopause-related side effect. However, if you wake up with your sheets drenched in perspiration or you can’t sleep because of your sweating, this could be an indication of a heart attack, especially in women.

Arrhythmia (rapid heartbeat) or heart palpitations (pounding heartbeat)

If you experience chest pain or discomfort, shortness of breath, weakness, dizziness, lightheadedness, fainting or near fainting, or feel as though your heart is beating too quickly, schedule an appointment with a healthcare professional.

Other Constitutional, Nonspecific Symptoms

  • Chills
  • Weakness
  • Malaise
  • Anorexia,
  • Headache
  • Cough
  • Weight loss
  • Dyspnea (can be a cause for concern as it may indicate hemodynamic disturbance).

Heart failure symptoms must be investigated, too, such as orthopnea, edema, paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea, chest pain syndromes (chest or pleuritic pain), and musculoskeletal weakness

Endocarditis symptoms

Infective endocarditis, or IE, comes in two varieties. The first is acute IE. This develops quickly and could be fatal in a matter of days. Subacute or chronic IE (or subacute bacterial endocarditis) develops gradually over a period of weeks to many months. Endocarditis symptoms vary from person to person and depend on the type of bacteria as well as the presence of other heart conditions.

The following are typical signs of endocarditis:

  • Aching muscles and joints
  • When breathing, your chest hurts
  • Fatigue
  • Flu-like signs include chills and a fever
  • Sweats at night
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Swollen ankles, legs, or stomach
  • A different or new whooshing in the heart (murmur)

Symptoms of endocarditis that are less typical include:

  • Unaccounted-for weight loss
  • Urine with blood in it
  • Under the left rib cage, a soreness (spleen)
  • On the palms of the hands or the bottoms of the feet, there are flat, painless red, purple, or brown blotches (Janeway lesions)
  • Hyperpigmented (darkened) skin patches or painful red, purple, or purple lumps on the ends of the fingers or toes (Osler nodes)
  • Petechiae, which are tiny purple, red, or brown spots that appear on the skin, the whites of the eyes, or the inside of the mouth.

What to Do if You Exhibit Heart Infection Symptoms?

It is usually recommended to call a doctor if chest discomfort develops quickly, especially if anti-inflammatory medication does not relieve symptoms. Call your doctor if there is pain that begins with nausea, vomiting, or sweating, which then extends to the arms, back, neck, or jaw. Check for tightness or heaviness in the chest, breathing difficulties or changes in breathing rate, and/or blue nails or lips.

Chest pain can occasionally be life-threatening if it is severe and lasts longer than 15 minutes. This is why it shouldn’t be disregarded.

One should also be cautious if they are using cardiovascular implantable devices as infections can originate from them, too. Examples of these devices are pacemaker and coronary artery stent.  

How do I Know if Chest Pain is Serious?

A heart attack may be indicated by pain that is acute or that feels as though it is squeezing the chest. Another indication of acute chest pain is trouble breathing. People who experience these symptoms should find a doctor right away.

Key Takeaways

When you take care of someone with heart disease, keep an eye on their symptoms and learn when it’s time to call the doctor. If they show any of these above signs or heart infection symptoms, get in touch with the doctor’s office right away.

Learn more about Heart Infections here


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Medically reviewed by

Lauren Labrador, MD, FPCP, DPCC


Written by Hello Doctor Medical Panel · Updated Sep 01, 2022

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