Endocarditis may develop slowly or suddenly — depending on what's causing the infection and whether you have any underlying heart problems. Endocarditis signs and symptoms vary, but may include:
- Fever and chills
- A new or changed heart murmur — heart sounds made by blood rushing through your heart
- Aching joints and muscles
- Night sweats
- Shortness of breath
- Persistent cough
- Swelling in your feet, legs or abdomen
- Unexplained weight loss
- Blood in your urine (either visible or found in a doctor's viewing of your urine under a microscope)
- Tenderness in your spleen — an infection-fighting abdominal organ on your left side, just below your rib cage
- Osler's nodes — red, tender spots under the skin of your fingers
- Petechiae (puh-TEE-key-ee) — tiny purple or red spots on the skin, whites of your eyes or inside your mouth
When to see a doctor
If you develop signs or symptoms of endocarditis, see your doctor right away — especially if you have risk factors for this serious infection, such as a heart defect or a previous case of endocarditis.
Although less serious conditions can cause similar signs and symptoms, you won't know for sure until you're evaluated.
June 14, 2014
- Longo DL, et al. Harrison's Online. 18th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=4. Accessed April 11, 2014.
- Endocarditis. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/endo/. Accessed April 11, 2014.
- Fuster V, ed., et al. Hurst's The Heart. 13th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2011. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=5. Accessed April 11, 2014.
- Sexton DJ, et al. Clinical manifestations and diagnosis of infective endocarditis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed April 11, 2014.