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Symptoms of Endocarditis

The symptoms of endocarditis can vary depending on the germ that caused the infection and how severe it is. Your child’s symptoms may also depend on whether they already had a heart problem before getting the infection.

Many of the commons symptoms resemble other illness, such as the flu, but usually last longer than the flu.

Your child may have one or more of these symptoms:

  • Prolonged fever
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Decreased appetite
  • Muscle aches
  • Achy joints
  • Small dark spots on their hands or feet (either small painful bumps or small painless flat spots), purple-red pinpoints under their skin or dark lines under their nails

Endocarditis can lead to other problems in the body, too, mainly in the heart. It can damage heart valves and cause heart failure.

Clumps of bacteria and other cells can break off from an infected area in the heart and travel through the blood stream. This can lead to infection in another part of the body, like the lungs, brain or kidneys. Or a clump can clog a blood vessel, blocking blood flow. These complications can cause symptoms of their own and can be serious.

Endocarditis Diagnosis

To diagnose this condition, your doctor will examine your child, check their heartbeat and listen to the sounds their heart makes. Children with endocarditis might have a heart murmur — the sound of excess blood moving between the heart chambers in a way that is not normal. Or a murmur they already had may change.

The doctor will ask for details about any symptoms your child has, their health history and your family health history.

Your child will need blood tests to check for bacteria that can cause endocarditis.

To get more information about how your child’s heart looks and works, your child will need echocardiography and electrocardiogram.

Who Treats This at Seattle Children's?

Should your child see a doctor?

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Summer 2014: Good Growing Newsletter

In This Issue

  • Understanding the Power and Influence of Role Models
  • Legal Marijuana Means Greater Poisoning Risks for Children
  • Why Choose Pediatric Emergency Care?

Download Summer 2014 (PDF)