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Bacteria and Germs

Spread Through Your Bloodstream To Heart

Endocarditis usually occurs when bacteria or other germs from another part of your body, such as your mouth, spread through your bloodstream and attach to damaged areas in your heart.

Structural Heart Defect

A common underlying factor in endocarditis is a structural heart defect, particularly faulty or congenitally damaged heart valves.

The invading germs can attach to these valves that may have a rough lining, a welcoming place for them to settle. Once there, the germs can multiply in the heart.

Catheter and Inserted Medical Devices

  • Having a catheter or other medical device inserted through your skin can also increase your risk of developing endocarditis.
  • Those who abuse IV drugs are at high risk for infections from germs on needles and syringes.
  • Certain dental procedures may also allow bacteria to enter your bloodstream.

Contact Information

Cardiovascular Medicine
Division of the CardioVascular Institute
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
330 Brookline Avenue
Boston, MA 02215