Bacterial endocarditis is an infection of the thin layer of tissue lining the inside of the heart. The infection can also damage your heart valves. If a heart valve is badly damaged, your heart has to work harder and may get bigger. You may not be able to exercise as much as you used to. The infection could travel from the heart to other parts of the body, causing other problems, such as stroke or damage to the kidneys.
Some types of heart defect or heart disease may make it easier for your child’s heart to get infected. Your child’s healthcare provider may recommend that your child take antibiotics before some procedures to help prevent infection.
Endocarditis is most often caused by an infection that starts in another part of your child’s body and is spread through your child’s bloodstream to his heart. Procedures that may cause bleeding are more likely to allow bacteria to get into the bloodstream.
Antibiotics are recommended if your child has an artificial heart valve, artificial conduit (tube) carrying blood, or has had heart surgery in the past 6 months. Antibiotics may also be recommended if lining of the heart hasn’t healed after an artificial patch was placed.
Your child’s healthcare provider may recommend antibiotics before dental treatments that may cause bleeding in the mouth, such as:
Usually your child will not need to take antibiotics if there will be no bleeding. Dental work that usually does not cause bleeding includes:
Antibiotics are not needed when your child loses baby teeth.
Your child’s healthcare provider may recommend antibiotics before surgeries and procedures. Most children do not need antibiotics. Always talk to your provider if you have any questions and be sure to tell your provider if your child is allergic to any medicines.