Endocarditis (say "en-doh-kar-DY-tus") is an infection of the heart's valves or inner lining (endocardium). It is caused by bacteria or, in rare cases, by fungi. Prompt treatment can help prevent permanent damage to the heart. If it isn't treated soon, it can lead to more serious problems, such as heart failure or heart rhythm problems.
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Rakesh K. Pai MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology & Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine & Robert A. Kloner MD, PhD - Cardiology