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(1) Endocarditis is a serious infection of one of the four heart valves.

Endocarditis is caused by a growth of bacteria on one of the heart valves, leading to an infected mass called a “vegetation”. The infection may be introduced during brief periods of having bacteria in the bloodstream, such as after dental work, colonoscopy, and other similar procedures.

(2) The heart is constituted of three types of tissues, which are from out- to inside the heart: the pericardium, the myocardium and the endocardium.

The endocardium is therefore the tissue situated on the internal face of the heart, directly in the contact with blood. An endocarditis corresponds to an inflammation (or irritation) of the endocardium or a microbial infection of the endothelial surface of the heart.

The most harmed area of the endocardium during an endocarditis is as a rule the one of the cardiac valves, especially if they were injured initially. These valves are to the number of 4: 2 on the right side of the heart and 2 on the left side.

On the right, the tricuspid valve between the auricle and the right ventricle, and the pulmonary valve between the right ventricle and the pulmonary artery.

On the left side of the heart, the mitral valve between the auricle and the left ventricle followed by the aortic valve between the left ventricle and the aorta.

The mitral and aortic valves infective endocarditis is the most frequent.

The inflammation of the endocardium is often provoked by a generalized infection, the germ being localized initially in another place of the body (teeth, digestive tract…).

The infective endocarditis is a serious illness in itself, but also because of the context on which it occurs.

See also:

Congestive Heart Failure

glossary/endocarditis.txt · Last modified: 2012/10/16 14:40 (external edit)