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Endocarditis is a life-threatening inflammation of the inner lining of your heart's chambers and valves (endocardium).


Endocarditis may develop slowly or suddenly, depending on what germs are causing the infection and whether you have any underlying heart problems. Signs and symptoms of endocarditis can vary from person to person.

Common signs and symptoms of endocarditis include:

  • Aching joints and muscles

  • Chest pain when you breathe

  • Fatigue

  • Flu-like symptoms, such as fever and chills

  • Night sweats

  • Shortness of breath

  • Swelling in your feet, legs, or abdomen

  • A new or changed heart murmur

When to See a Doctor

If you have signs or symptoms of endocarditis, see your doctor as soon as possible — especially if you have risk factors for this serious infection, such as a heart defect or history of endocarditis. Although less serious conditions can cause similar signs and symptoms, you won't know for sure until you're evaluated by your doctor.

If you've been diagnosed with endocarditis, tell your doctor about any signs or symptoms that may mean your infection is getting worse, such as:

  • Chills

  • Fever

  • Headaches

  • Joint pain

  • Shortness of breath

If you're being treated with antibiotics for endocarditis, tell your doctor if you develop diarrhea, a rash, itching, or joint pain. These signs and symptoms may mean you're having a reaction to your prescribed antibiotic.

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