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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,

3 Replies

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



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



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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