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HealthInfo Canterbury

Infective endocarditis

Endocarditis is the medical name for inflammation of the heart valves. It's usually caused by a bacterial infection, in which case it's called infective endocarditis.

The bacteria grow on the heart valves, and the growths are called vegetations. The vegetations can disrupt the flow of blood through the heart, which can be picked up as a heart murmur. Sometimes, the vegetations break off, travel in the bloodstream and damage other parts of the body.

Most people with infective endocarditis will have a fever at some stage of their illness. They may also have other symptoms, depending on which parts of the body are affected by the infection.

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Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed May 2018.

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Page reference: 121065

Review key: HIIEN-121065