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Heart Disease Health Center

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Endocarditis, Infective

It is possible that the main title of the report Endocarditis, Infective is not the name you expected. Please check the synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and disorder subdivision(s) covered by this report.


  • Endocarditis, Bacterial
  • IE

Disorder Subdivisions

  • Endocarditis, Bacterial Acute
  • Endocarditis, Bacterial Subacute
  • Endocarditis, Prosthetic Valvular (PVA)

General Discussion

Infective endocarditis is a bacterial infection of the inner lining of the heart muscle (endocardium). This inner lining also covers the heart valves, and it is these valves which are primarily affected by infective endocarditis. If the infection remains untreated, multiplying bacteria may eventually destroy the valves and result in heart failure. Bacteria may also form small clots (emboli) which move through the blood and block small arteries. These clots may lodge in various parts of the body including the brain and cause serious damage.

There are several forms of infective endocarditis. Two types that have similar symptoms but are caused by different bacteria are acute bacterial endocarditis and subacute bacterial endocarditis. Acute bacterial endocarditis may affect normal heart valves, while subacute bacterial endocarditis more commonly affects heart valves which have been previously damaged by disease. A third type of infective endocarditis, prosthetic valvular endocarditis (PVE), may develop in patients who have previously had artificial (prosthetic) valve replacement or tissue valve replacement.


American Heart Association
7272 Greenville Avenue
Dallas, TX 75231
Tel: (214)784-7212
Fax: (214)784-1307
Tel: (800)242-8721

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
1600 Clifton Road NE
Atlanta, GA 30333
Tel: (404)639-3534
Tel: (800)232-4636
TDD: (888)232-6348

NIH/National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute
P.O. Box 30105
Bethesda, MD 20892-0105
Tel: (301)592-8573
Fax: (301)251-1223

Genetic and Rare Diseases (GARD) Information Center
PO Box 8126
Gaithersburg, MD 20898-8126
Tel: (301)251-4925
Fax: (301)251-4911
Tel: (888)205-2311
TDD: (888)205-3223

For a Complete Report:

This is an abstract of a report from the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD). A copy of the complete report can be downloaded free from the NORD website for registered users. The complete report contains additional information including symptoms, causes, affected population, related disorders, standard and investigational therapies (if available), and references from medical literature. For a full-text version of this topic, go to and click on Rare Disease Database under "Rare Disease Information".

The information provided in this report is not intended for diagnostic purposes. It is provided for informational purposes only. NORD recommends that affected individuals seek the advice or counsel of their own personal physicians.

It is possible that the title of this topic is not the name you selected. Please check the Synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and Disorder Subdivision(s) covered by this report

This disease entry is based upon medical information available through the date at the end of the topic. Since NORD's resources are limited, it is not possible to keep every entry in the Rare Disease Database completely current and accurate. Please check with the agencies listed in the Resources section for the most current information about this disorder.

For additional information and assistance about rare disorders, please contact the National Organization for Rare Disorders at P.O. Box 1968, Danbury, CT 06813-1968; phone (203) 744-0100; web site or email

Last Updated: 8/7/2007
Copyright 1989, 1999, 2007 National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.

WebMD Medical Reference from the National Organization for Rare Disorders

Last Updated: May 28, 2015
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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