Your child has infective endocarditis (IE). This is an infection of the lining of the heart or the heart valves. The infection was caused by bacteria (germs) that entered the bloodstream. They then traveled to the heart. Germs can enter the bloodstream a number of ways. The most common are through dental procedures or cuts, or because of an infection in another part of the body. Your child’s infection was treated in the hospital. He or she was given strong antibiotics through an IV. Below are instructions for caring for your child at home. This is a very serious infection and requires a great deal of attention and care.
IV therapy may be needed for weeks after your child has left the hospital. You need to arrange for this therapy. Ask for help with this before you leave the hospital.
Make sure your child takes any prescribed antibiotics until they are all gone. Do this even if your child feels better. These antibiotics don’t just treat an infection. They also prevent further damage to the heart. If your child doesn't finish all the antibiotics, it may be harder to treat infections in the future. Some children may also need to take antibiotics before surgery or dental care to prevent infections.
Tell your child’s doctor about all infections your child has. Do this even for minor infections.
Limit your child’s activity as directed by the doctor.
Be sure your child has good dental care. Take your child to the dentist every 6 months or more often. Dental infection can lead to endocarditis. See the dentist for toothaches and abscesses right away. Teach your child to take good care of the teeth and mouth. Make sure your child brushes his or her teeth after every meal and flosses as directed.
Ask your child’s doctor whether your child needs to take antibiotics before any medical procedure or dental visit.
Take good care of your child. Ask your doctor to explain the elements of a healthy lifestyle to your child. This includes exercise and a healthy diet.
Call your doctor right away if your child has any of the following:
Fever over 100.4°F (38°C)
Severe pain in the belly, lower back, or side
Weakness in any extremity
Symptoms come back or worsen