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Glossary of Terms

Bacterial Endocarditis

A term used to describe an infection of a heart valve. Infections of heart valves can occur with the patients own native valve or with a valve that was previously implanted. Any of the 4 valves in the heart can become infected. The infection is usually secondary to some other infection in the body that has allowed bacteria into the blood stream. As the bacteria come in contact with the valve, the valve can become infected, especially if there is an abnormal surface or function of the valve tissue. Valve infections, i.e. endocarditis, can be treated with antibiotics, but often surgery is needed to remove the infected tissue and repair or replace the valve.

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