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Infective Endocarditis

Infective Endocarditis - Causes and Risk Factors

Infective endocarditis (IE) is caused by germs that enter the bloodstream through a wide variety of ways. Bad oral hygiene, minor injury in the mouth or gums, implanted heart devices, and chronic skin disorders are some of the common ways bacteria enter the bloodstream.  

Certain risk factors can increase one’s chances of getting IE, including:

  • Age: IE often occurs in older adults, especially those above the age of 60, who make up 25% of all IE patients.
  • Artificial heart valves: Artificial or prosthetic heart valves tend to have risks of IE.
  • Congenital heart defects: Having certain heart defects from birth such as faulty valves or a hole in the septum can increase one’s risks of having IE. 
  • Damaged heart valves: Rheumatic fever or other infections can cause scarring to the heart valves, increasing the risk of IE. A history of IE also increases the chances of recurrent infections.  
  • Diabetes mellitus: Those with type II diabetes were shown to have higher incidence of IE than patients without. 
  • Gender: Men are two times more likely to suffer from IE compared to women.  
  • Immunosuppression: Those with weakened immune systems are more likely to get IE. 
  • Implanted devices: Bacteria and germs can attach to cardiac devices like pacemakers, thus infecting the lining of the heart. 
  • Use of illegal IV drugs: Those who consume banned drugs via IV needles are at higher risk of developing IE because of contaminated needles and syringes. 
  • Poor oral hygiene or dental health: Poor oral hygiene increases the chances of bacteria growing inside the mouth and entering the bloodstream through any wounds on your gums. Certain dental procedures may cause injuries to the gums and allow bacteria to enter the bloodstream, leading to IE.

Infective Endocarditis - Post-surgery care

Infective Endocarditis - Other Information

The information provided is not intended as medical advice. Terms of use. Information provided by SingHealth

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