beth israel deaconess medical center a harvard medical school teaching hospital

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Physical Examination

Your doctor may suspect endocarditis based on:

  • Your medical history
  • Symptoms
  • Listening for a heart murmur with a stethoscope
  • Blood test to look for bacteria in the bloodstream

Diagnostic Tests


Your doctor will also order an echocardiogram to show the condition of your heart valve as well as any growths or abscesses. This test uses high-frequency sound waves to produce images that show the size, shape and motion of the heart.

Transesophageal Echocardiogram (TEE)

A transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE) involves passing an ultrasound probe through your mouth into your esophagus near the heart. It makes clearer pictures than does a conventional echocardiogram.

Additional Tests

In addition, your doctor may order one or more of the following tests.

Chest X-Ray

Simple x-ray test that uses radiation to take pictures of structures inside the body.

Electrocardiogram (ECG)

This test records the heart's activity by measuring electrical currents through the heart muscle. It may show signs of heart strain or enlargement.

Cardiac Catheterization

This involves the threading of a tiny tube or catheter through a blood vessel in the arm or groin all the way into the heart. The tube can be used to measure pressures within the heart and provide information about heart and valve function or deliver "dye" (radiographic contrast) into the heart chambers and arteries. When the dye is seen on x-ray images it provides information about the heart and valve function and whether there are blockages in the heart arteries.

Contact Information

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