Infective endocarditis, occurs when fungi or bacteria enter the bloodstream and target heart valve tissue, typically following invasive procedures like dental work or endoscopy. While normal heart valve tissue is naturally resistant to infection, diseased valves exhibit vulnerabilities that increase the likelihood of infections. People with severe heart valve infections often require infective endocarditis surgery, which involves various procedures to clear away bacteria and fungi and repair damaged heart valves. For the majority of individuals, surgery remains the primary option for preventing heart failure and other life-threatening complications.
The timing of the medical procedure depends on the severity of your condition. In up to 30% of patients, it is advisable to undergo surgery shortly after being diagnosed. This is particularly important for individuals with replacement valves that have become infected.
There are other valve-related issues that may necessitate urgent surgery, including:
Additional factors to consider for urgent surgery include complications such as:
The following are potential risks of infective endocarditis surgery:
Healthcare providers treat endocarditis according with accepted guidelines. In addition, numerous tests are used by healthcare providers to decide if a patient needs surgery. They also assist surgeons in planning the surgery and assessing its success.
The following assessment includes:
The appropriate course of action for addressing heart valve damage depends on the type and severity of the condition.
Surgical options may include:
During the initial phase of your recovery, you can anticipate a stay in the intensive care unit for a few days, followed by a transfer to a regular hospital floor. Throughout the early stages, healthcare providers will maintain continuous monitoring of your heart to detect any potential complications. It may be necessary to continue taking antibiotics, either orally or intravenously, for several weeks post-surgery to ensure the complete elimination of any remaining infection. Once you return home, it’s important to prioritize rest and take it easy. It’s natural to experience fatigue and discomfort during this period. Keep in mind that if you were severely ill before your procedure, your recovery may require a longer timeframe.
Successful recovery after surgery is not guaranteed, and in some cases, vegetations may reoccur following treatment. Complications can lead to ongoing health issues for certain patients.
The prognosis is more favorable for individuals who undergo surgery before experiencing valve tissue damage and other complications. Conversely, those who develop heart failure tend to have a less promising prognosis.
Following surgery for infective endocarditis, it is essential to contact your healthcare provider if you experience any of the following symptoms:
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