Treatment for endocarditis, or an infection of the inner lining of the heart, usually involves the administration of intravenous (IV) antibiotics for two to six weeks. To ensure the antibiotics are effectively fighting the infection, physicians typically recommend that patients stay in a hospital for the beginning phase of treatment or until all severe symptoms have subsided. Once discharged from the hospital, a patient will usually complete IV treatments by visiting his or her physician’s office or receiving home-based care.
In the event that the heart has been substantially damaged by endocarditis, surgical treatment may be recommended to repair or replace injured heart valves or to treat an infected area that is not responding to antibiotics. Surgery may be the first treatment for patients with infections caused by fungi.
Patients who experience breathlessness or swelling in the feet, ankles, or legs at any time during the endocarditis treatment process should visit their nearest emergency room, as these symptoms are possible indicators of heart failure. Patients should also receive prompt medical care if they are exhibiting signs that the infection is growing or treatment is causing an allergic reaction, such as:
- Unusual joint pain
- Skin rash
Tampa General Hospital is a leader in the diagnosis and treatment of endocarditis. In fact, U.S. News & World Report has recognized TGH as one of America's Best Hospitals for Cardiology & Heart Surgery, and The Joint Commission has given our hospital disease-specific certification for heart failure and advanced certification for ventricular assist device services. Our team of cardiologists, heart surgeons, and other heart and vascular specialists share a goal of providing the best possible care to our patients.