What are the symptoms of early acute infective endocarditis (IE)?

Updated: Jan 03, 2019
  • Author: John L Brusch, MD, FACP; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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Answer

The clinical symptoms of acute IE result from either embolic or intracardiac suppurative complications. The onset of illness is abrupt, with rapidly progressive destruction of the infected valve (see the images below). The valvular leaflets are quickly destroyed by bacteria that multiply rapidly within the ever-growing friable vegetations. Complications develop within a week. These include the dyspnea and fatigue of severe congestive heart failure and a wide spectrum of neuropsychiatric complications resulting from CNS involvement.

Acute bacterial endocarditis caused by Staphylococ Acute bacterial endocarditis caused by Staphylococcus aureus with perforation of the aortic valve and aortic valve vegetations. Courtesy of Janet Jones, MD, Laboratory Service, Wichita Veterans Administration Medical Center.
Acute bacterial endocarditis caused by Staphylococ Acute bacterial endocarditis caused by Staphylococcus aureus with aortic valve ring abscess extending into myocardium. Courtesy of Janet Jones, MD, Laboratory Service, Wichita Veterans Administration Medical Center.

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