Common symptoms of endocarditis include a high temperature (fever), chills, loss of appetite and unexplained weight loss
The symptoms of endocarditis can develop rapidly over the course of a few days (acute endocarditis) or slowly, over the course of a few weeks or possibly months (subacute endocarditis).
Subacute endocarditis is more common in people with congenital heart disease.
Symptoms of endocarditis
The most common symptoms of endocarditis include:
- a high temperature (fever) of 38C (100.4F) or above
- night sweats
- shortness of breath, especially during physical activity
- heart murmurs – where your heart makes a whooshing or swishing noise between beats
- tiredness (fatigue)
- muscle and joint pain
Other symptoms can include:
- the appearance of a spotty red rash on the skin (this is known as petechiae)
- narrow, reddish-brown lines of blood that run underneath the nails
- painful raised lumps that develop on the fingers and toes
- painful red spots that develop on the palms of your hand and soles of your feet
- mental confusion
When to seek medical advice
You should contact your GP as soon as possible if you develop any of the above symptoms, particularly if you're at a higher risk of developing endocarditis, such as having a history of heart disease.
Read more about the causes of endocarditis.
These symptoms are more likely to be caused by a less serious type of infection. However, your doctor will want to investigate.
When to seek emergency medical advice
A stroke is one of the most serious complications that can develop from endocarditis.
If you suspect a stroke, you should dial 999 immediately to request an ambulance.
The most effective way to identify the symptoms of a stroke is to remember the word FAST, which stands for:
- Face – the face may have fallen on one side, the person may be unable to smile, or their mouth or eye may have drooped
- Arms – the person may be unable to raise both arms and keep them there as a result of weakness or numbness
- Speech – the person's speech may be slurred
- Time – it's time to dial 999 immediately if there are any of these signs or symptoms
- Acute means occurring suddenly or over a short period of time.
- Bacteria are tiny, single-celled organisms that live in the body. Some can cause illness and disease and some others are good for you.
- Blood supplies oxygen to the body and removes carbon dioxide. It is pumped around the body by the heart.
- Blood vessels
- Blood vessels are the tubes in which blood travels to and from parts of the body. The three main types of blood vessels are veins, arteries and capillaries.
- Fatigue is extreme tiredness and lack of energy.
- A high temperature, also known as a fever, is when someone's body temperature goes above the normal 37°C (98.6°F).
- To haemorrhage means to bleed or lose blood.
- A nodule is a small growth or lump of tissue.
- Inflammation is the body's response to infection, irritation or injury, which causes redness, swelling, pain and sometimes a feeling of heat in the affected area.