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Q.

How is endocarditis treated?

 

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A.

Infective endocarditis (IE) is treated with antibiotics and sometimes with heart surgery.

Antibiotics

Antibiotics usually are given for 2 to 6 weeks through an intravenous (IV) line inserted into a vein. You're often in a hospital for at least the first week or more of treatment. This allows your doctor to make sure the medicine is helping.

If you're allowed to go home before the treatment is done, the antibiotics are almost always continued by vein at home. You'll need special care if you get IV antibiotic treatment at home. Before you leave the hospital, your medical team will arrange for you to receive home-based care so you can continue your treatment.

You also will need close medical followup, usually by a team of doctors. This team often includes a doctor who specializes in infectious diseases, a cardiologist (heart specialist), and a heart surgeon.

Surgery

Sometimes surgery is needed to repair or replace a damaged heart valve or to help clear up IE. For example, IE caused by fungi often requires surgery. This is because this type of IE is harder to treat than IE caused by bacteria.

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