Endocarditis is an inflammation (swelling) of the inner lining (endocardium) of the chambers of the heart usually as a consequence of an infection.
Damage to the endocardium can cause the surface of the tissue to become rougher, making it easier for bacteria in the blood passing through to stick to the tissue and cause infection. Endocarditis most commonly affects the heart valves making them work less well.
Endocarditis is usually associated with other heart conditions, since any abnormalities in the structure of the heart leave the endocardium more vulnerable to damage and infection.
Our Cardiorespiratory Unit regularly refer to information published by the Children's Heart Federation when explaining endocarditis to our patients and their families.