Acute Bacterial Endocarditis

A vegetation is readily seen on this valve leaflet.

Infectious endocarditis (IE), commonly referred to as bacterial endocarditis even though it can be due to fungi, rickettsiae, or Chlamydia, IE represents a serious illness and is characterized by colonization with or without invasion of the heart valves or the endocardium at other sites. Colonization results in the formation of vegetations consisting of the offending agent and thrombotic debris. There is often destruction of the underlying tissue with ulceration. Infective arteritis may occur in the aorta or other arteries and vegetations may be set up on prosthetic devices. A highly virulent organism such as Staphylococcus aureus will usually cause acute IE and can affect previously normal valves. There are risks of septic emboli and of perforation of cusp or leaflet with acute regurgitation.