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Cardiovascular Syphilis

Cardiovascular syphilis refers to the infection of the heart and related blood vessels by the syphilis bacteria. This complication usually begins as an inflammation of the arteries. Destruction caused by cardiovascular syphilis can be life-threatening.

Complications of cardiovascular syphilis include:

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  • Narrowing of the blood vessels that supply blood to the heart, which may lead to chest pain (angina), heart attack, and possibly death.
  • Damage to heart valves that may lead to heart failure.
  • Aortic aneurysm. If a vessel becomes weak enough, it can rupture and cause death.

Antibiotic treatment cures the syphilis infection and stops the progress of cardiovascular syphilis. But the damage that has already occurred may not be reversed.

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Devika Singh, MD, MPH - Infectious Disease
Last Revised September 29, 2011

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: September 29, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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