Infective Endocarditis

The preferred term, infective endocarditis, encompasses all types of endocarditis caused by infectious organisms and represents an infection of the endocardium occurring on the valve leaflets, the walls of the heart cavities, or the tissue surrounding prosthetic heart valves. The infection may be subacute or acute, depending on the virulence of the organism, the susceptibility of the host, and the presence of intravenous drug use. Because of the declining frequency of rheumatic heart disease, the increasing number of cardiac surgical procedures, and the increasing numbers of intravenous drug users, the nature of this disease has changed dramatically in the last 20 years.15

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