Heart Inflammation – Endocarditis | NHLBI, NIH


Causes of endocarditis include bacteria in the blood and abnormalities in the endocardium layer.

  • Bacteria in the blood can come from bacterial infections in other parts of the body, such as urinary tract infections (UTIs), gum infections, or surgery.
  • Abnormalities in the endocardium layer of the heart can make it more likely for bacteria to build up.

Risk Factors

Endocarditis is usually caused by an infection in the heart. Infections can be caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi. Risk factors for endocarditis include:

  • Factors that raise the risk of bacteria in the blood
    • Using IV drugs
    • Prosthetic heart valve
    • Poor dental health
    • Gum disease
    • Urinary tract infection (UTI)
    • Surgery
  • Medicines or medical conditions that weaken the 

    immune system

  • Heart conditions, especially those that involve heart valves

Men are affected twice as often as women, and older adults have a higher risk than younger adults.

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