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British Heart Foundation
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Endocarditis, is it preventable?

Hello all,

I am recovering from endocarditis, after 5 weeks on 8 intra venous drips a day as an in-patient, I am now being treated once a day as an outpatient at my local small "nurse led" hospital.

I have had a previous bout of endocarditis in 2012, then in 2015 I had a mitral valve replacement, perhaps as a consequence. I am therefore at high risk of endocarditis.

After my first bout the NICE (NHS) recommendations said that I should have prophylactic antibiotics before any invasive procedures (i.e. likely to draw blood), including any dental work other than a check up or a polish. Then NICE changed their recommendations to minimise overuse of antibiotics.

This summer I had polyps removed from my colon - a very high risk procedure from my point of view.

My cardiologist is giving me a letter to present when I have any future risky procedures, to demand prophylactic antibiotics. I strongly recommend that anyone who is at risk of endocarditis asks for a similar letter.

I know, perhaps better than most, the importance of keeping antibiotics effective, but I can't help thinking that in cases such as mine a prophylactic might be justified,

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I have a warning card I keep at home but my dentist knows I have a heart condition and know I need antibiotic cover before any dental work. I’ve had endocarditis before so I’m high risk especially as I’ve just had a valve replacement

.

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This is really relevant to me. I had endocarditis and valve replacement this year with a nine week hospital stay and eight weeks of antibiotics. I saw my cardiologist this week and we discussed the risk of further episodes and I am to have anti biotics before dental work, any invasive surgery but there is little that can be done to avoid air borne germs.

I also saw my dentist this week and he says I must have abs prior to invasive dental work and the hygienist.Nothing is simple....

I feel so sorry that you have had so much endocarditis. I dread the idea of further episodes ,the treatment is brutal and the recovery not much fun.

All the best

Mary

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Thanks for your replies. It's very interesting to know that other cardiologists are more assertive. I have a new one since my latest episode - I never felt the previous one took much interest! I'm interested too that you include the dental hygienist as a risk. I have recently change dentists and have never had one before.

I was lucky in that my latest bout of endocarditis was spotted by a nurse taking my inr reading for warfarin. She knows me pretty well and waylaid a passing doctor, who packed me straight off to hospital. I was caught early before damage was done to my artificial valve. Early symptoms, in my case, were so non-specific, it never occurred to me what was wrong. I just felt seriously grotty.

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