Endocarditis is a cardiac condition caused by an infection of the inner lining of the heart. It is generally caused by a bacterium and can affect the heart valves as well as the heart lining. As it is a potentially life threatening problem, treatment of endocarditis requires long term intravenous antibiotics and maybe even open heart surgery. Hence, it is better to do a preventive treatment called a prophylaxis.
The treatment that is taken to prevent the onset of endocarditis by administering antibiotics is called Endocarditis Prophylaxis. Endocarditis occurs in people when certain bacteria get trapped in the endocardial lining of the heart and cause an infection. Prophylaxis ensures that these bacteria are killed before they get to set up an infection.
Endocarditis can be detected through a set of physical and clinical tests. Blood examination and culture easily isolates the actual germs that infected the heart valve lining. Echocardiogram uses sound to generate images of the heart at work. These images help doctors to closely examine the heart and determine whether there are are any abnormalities.
Endocarditis Prophylaxis is generally prescribed for patients:
- Who have artificial heart valves
- Who have had heart repairs with prosthetic material
- With prior history of endocarditis
- With certain congenital heart diseases
Amoxicillin is the preferred antibiotic for Endocarditis Prophylaxis. However, there are several alternatives in case amoxicillin cannot be used.Patients already taking antibiotics for a different reason must be given a different class of antibiotics for prophylaxis.
Endocarditis prophylaxis is directed towards specific bacterium and pathogens depending upon the condition of the patient and the surgical procedures involved.