You have been diagnosed with infective endocarditis (IE). This is an infection of the lining of the heart and/or of the heart valves. It happens when bacteria (germs) enter the bloodstream (bacteremia) and go to the heart. The germs then cause infection in the heart. The germs can enter your bloodstream in a number of ways. It may happen during a dental procedure. It can happen through a cut. Or the germs can come from an infection elsewhere in the body. Your infection was treated in the hospital with strong antibiotics through an IV. This sheet will help you take care of yourself at home.
You may need to continue IV therapy for a few weeks at home. You will be given more instructions before you leave the hospital. Make sure to ask any questions you have.
Take the antibiotics until they are all gone. Take them even if you feel better. They treat the infection and prevent it from returning.
Do not drive until your doctor says it’s OK.
Take good care of your teeth and mouth. Brush your teeth after meals. Floss as directed.
Visit your dentist every 6 months. Dental infection is a risk factor for bacterial endocarditis. See your dentist immediately if you have a toothache or abscess.
You might need to take an antibiotic before dental visits. Ask your doctor for more information.
Tell your doctor about all infections you have, even small ones.
Take good care of yourself. Get regular exercise and eat a healthy diet. Ask your doctor for help as needed.
Make a follow-up appointment as directed by our staff. You will need follow up with an infectious disease doctor as well as a cardiologist and possibly a heart surgeon.
Call your doctor right away if you have any of the following:
Tiredness that persists for 2 to 3 days
Decreased exercise tolerance
Chest pain or shortness of breath
Fever over 100.4°F (38.0°C)
Severe abdominal or flank pain
Return of symptoms such as loss of appetite, weight loss, paleness, headache, or weakness