Wednesday, November 21, 2012

TERM: Endocarditis

Endocarditis: an inflammation of one or more of the heart valves and lining tissues of the heart. Having existing congenital defects or damage to the heart valves increases the risk of developing endocarditis. The most common cause of endocarditis is bacterial infection. Symptoms are nonspecific and include fever, chills, and weakness. Long-term intravenous antibiotic therapy, up to 4 to 6 weeks, is the treatment for bacterial endocarditis. In severe cases, valve damage may occur that necessitates surgical replacement of a valve. Complications can include heart failure, stroke, and brain abscess.

REFERENCE: Fauci, Anthony S., et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 17th ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Professional, 1008.

animation showing a moving echocardiogram
Word List:
  • inflammation: a protective tissue response to injury or destruction of tissues, which serves to destroy, dilute, or wall off both the injurious agent and the injured tissues. The classical signs of acute inflammation are pain (dolor), heat (calor), redness (rubor), swelling (tumor), and loss of function.
  • congenital defects: structural or functional abnormalities (not normal) present at birth that cause physical or mental disability
  • fever: medically, a person is not considered to have a significant fever until the temperature is above 100.4 F (38.0 C)
  • chills: feelings of coldness accompanied by shivering
  • weakness: decrease in the strength in one or more muscles
  • intravenous: going into a vein
  • severe: extremely bad or serious
  • complications: a new problem or illness that makes treatment of a previous one more complicated or difficult
  • heart failure: heart's pumping power is weaker than normal
  • stroke: cerebrovascular accident (CVA), occurs when blood supply to part of the brain stops, causing brain cells to die
  • brain abscess: a bacterial infection within the brain

Pronunciation Practice:
= endocarditis
= inflammation
= congenital
= defect
= fever
= chill
= weakness
= intravenous
= severe
= complication
= heart failure
= stroke
= brain
= abscess