Endocarditis is an inflammation of the endocardium, a membrane that covers connective tissue in heart valves and lines heart chambers. Most cases are caused by a bacterial infection. Endocarditis is a serious ailment that can lead to severe medical complications, and can even be fatal if not treated.

Signs and Symptoms

The most common symptom of endocarditis is fever. The fever may be high or low, and it may seem to come and go. Other common symptoms include the following.

What Causes It?

Most of the causes of endocarditis are related to a bacterial infection. Heart conditions that increase your risk include having mechanical heart valves, a previous case of endocarditis, heart defects and dysfunctions, and degenerative heart disease. Dental and surgical procedures that increase your risk of infective endocarditis include dental procedures that irritate the gums, tonsillectomy, adenoidectomy, intestinal and respiratory surgery, gallbladder surgery, cystoscopy, bronchoscopy, and vaginal delivery with an infection present.

What to Expect at Your Provider's Office

Your health care provider will listen to your heart and lungs, take your pulse, and check your eyes and skin. Your provider likely will order a number of tests, which could include blood tests, urine analysis, an echocardiogram, a computed tomography scan, and a cinefluoroscopy (a motion-picture type heart scan). In most cases, your provider will admit you to the hospital, possibly in intensive care, until your condition is better understood and your symptoms are under control.

Treatment Options

Endocarditis is treated with antibiotics, almost always intravenously. In some cases, surgery is also required.

Drug Therapies

Infective endocarditis is usually treated with a combination of two or even three antibiotics, such as penicillin, gentamicin, vancomycin, cefazolin, ceftriaxone, nafcillin, oxacillin, rifampin, and ampicillin. Treatment generally takes two to six weeks.

Complementary and Alternative Therapies

Endocarditis has serious ramifications and requires aggressive medical treatment. Alternative therapies may be used concurrently to help reduce severity, duration, and progression of disease.

Nutrition Herbs
Herbs may be used as dried extracts (capsules, powders, teas), glycerites (glycerine extracts), or tinctures (alcohol extracts). Teas should be made with 1 tsp. herb per cup of hot water. Steep covered 5 to 10 minutes for leaf or flowers, 10 to 20 minutes for roots. Drink 2 to 4 cups per day. Homeopathy
Some of the most common remedies for this condition are listed below.

Following Up

In addition to monitoring your condition while you are in the hospital, your health care provider will order follow-up procedures, such as blood tests, to determine how well the prescribed treatment is working.


Amoxicillin. NMIHI. Accessed at http://www.nmihi.com/a/amoxicillin.html on July 12, 2018.

Ampicillin. NMIHI. Accessed at http://www.nmihi.com/a/ampicillin.html on July 12, 2018.

Azithromycin. NMIHI. Accessed at http://www.nmihi.com/a/azithromycin.html on July 12, 2018.

Bacterial Endocarditis. American Academy of Family Physicians Accessed at https://familydoctor.org/ on July 2, 2018.

Barker LR, Burton JR, Zieve PD, eds. Principles of Ambulatory Medicine. 4th ed. Baltimore, Md: Williams & Wilkins; 1995:379-381.

Bartram T. Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine. Dorset, England: Grace Publishers; 1995:99,167-168,220.

Dambro MR, ed. Griffith's 5 Minute Clinical Consult. Baltimore, Md: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 1999:358-361.

Endocarditis. NMIHI. Accessed at http://www.nmihi.com/e/endocarditis.htm on June 17, 2018.

Endocarditis. MedlinePlus. Accessed at https://medlineplus.gov/ on July 2, 2018.

Gruenwald J, Brendler T, Jaenicke C, et al., eds. PDR for Herbal Medicines. Montvale, NJ: Medical Economics Co; 1998:772-773, 1130-1131.

Kruzel T. The Homeopathic Emergency Guide. Berkeley, Calif: North Atlantic Books; 1992:58-61.

Metronidazole. NMIHI. Accessed at http://www.nmihi.com/m/metronidazole.html on July 2, 2018.

Murray MT. Encyclopedia of Nutritional Supplements. Rocklin, Calif: Prima Publishing; 1996:401,404, 463-464.

Snow JM. Hydrastis canadensis L. (Ranunculaceae). Protocol J Botan Med. 1997;2:25-28.

Stein JK, ed. Internal Medicine. 4th ed. St. Louis, Mo: Mosby-Year Book; 1994:189-201.

Stoller JK, Ahmad M, Longworth DL, eds. The Cleveland Clinic Intensive Review of Internal Medicine. Baltimore, Md: Williams & Wilkins; 1998:137-141, 299.

Walker LP, Brown EH. The Alternative Pharmacy. Paramus, NJ: Prentice Hall Press; 1998:239-240.

Werback MR. Nutritional Influences on Illness. New Canaan, Conn: Keats Publishing, Inc; 1987:252-262.

What is bacterial endocarditis? Cleveland Clinic. Accessed at https://my.clevelandclinic.org/ on July 2, 2018.