beth israel deaconess medical center a harvard medical school teaching hospital

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Risk Factors

Endocarditis strikes approximately 19,000 people in the United States each year, with 2,000 deaths. Men develop endocarditis more often than women.

It is rare in people with normal hearts. However, if you have certain preexisting conditions, you are at increased risk for endocarditis. These include:

  • Mitral valve prolapse with regurgitation or thickened valve leaflets
  • An artificial (prosthetic) heart valve or pacemaker wire
  • A history of previous endocarditis
  • Heart valves damaged (scarred) by conditions such as rheumatic fever
  • Various kinds of congenital heart defects
  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
  • People who have had a heart transplant who develop a heart valve abnormality
  • Bacteremia (bacterial infection in the blood)

Other risk factors include:

  • A history of intravenous drug use
  • A chronic medical condition that weakens the immune system

Contact Information

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