Subacute bacterial endocarditis is a form of infective endocarditis that slowly develops. The condition is mainly an infection of the heart lining or endocardium.
This condition can cause significant damage to the heart tissue and trigger symptoms and complications that involve the whole body. Once this condition is suspected, it requires prompt treatment to lessen the damage to the heart.
What is the cause?
Subacute bacterial endocarditis might develop once bacteria enters the bloodstream. If the individual has bleeding gums while brushing his/her teeth, bacteria can get into the blood. This is the reason why those with periodontal disease face a higher risk for the condition.
What are the signs?
The chief signs of subacute bacterial endocarditis include fever and aches that can be mistaken for other conditions. If an individual experience these symptoms, it is best to consult a doctor as soon as possible.
Some of the evident signs of the condition include:
- Night sweating
- Unexplained fever or chills
- Joint and muscle pain
- Weight loss
- Slightly elevated heart rate
- Skin rashes
- Diminished appetite
- Lack of energy
- Back or chest pain
Management of subacute bacterial endocarditis
Prompt treatment is vital once the condition is diagnosed. If treatment is delayed, it can be deadly.
Generally, the treatment involves a course of high-dose intravenous antibiotics, usually lasting for 2-6 weeks. The treatment is started in a healthcare facility.
Once the condition of the individual is stable and the antibiotics are working without any side effects, the individual might be allowed to go home. Treatment is continued on an outpatient basis either visiting the hospital or at home.
In some instances, surgery is required. This might involve drainage of the infected abscess that formed on the heart or replacement of an infected valve. If a congenital heart issue is the cause, surgery is necessary to fix the condition.