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Infective Endocarditis

If infective endocarditis has been misdiagnosed or negligently treated, you may be able to make a compensation claim.

Our team of specialist clinical negligence solicitors specialise in dealing with claims arising from the negligent treatment or delayed diagnosis.

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What is infective endocarditis?

Infective endocarditis may also be referred to as bacterial endocarditis. It is a very serious, potentially life-threatening infection affecting the heart.

Endocarditis can sometimes occur following certain medical or dental procedures as this can result in bacteria entering the bloodstream. A person tends to be at a higher risk of developing endocarditis if they have pre-existing diseases and/or conditions involving the heart, but it can affect anyone.

In the UK, in accordance with the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines, antibiotics are not routinely recommended or prescribed before invasive dental procedures, even when patients are known to be directly at risk of developing infective endocarditis.

Despite published research highlighting the rising prevalence of infective endocarditis in England since introduction of these guidelines; NICE have recently re-affirmed their position maintaining that “antibiotics are not effective for preventing infective endocarditis.” They suggest that there was no evidence within the research to suggest a direct link between falling antibiotic prescriptions with the snowballing rise of infective endocarditis in recent years.

How is endocarditis diagnosed and treated?

If a patient has endocarditis they very often suffer from flu-like symptoms, including:

As a result, this can make infective endocarditis quite difficult to diagnose. A full history should be taken, to include details such as a description of symptoms, how they developed, and any relevant past medical history. An examination should also be performed, to include listening to the heart and checking your temperature.

Further tests and investigations may then be carried out, including a blood test, ECG and/or ultrasound. A chest x-ray, CT scan and/or MRI scan can also sometimes be helpful in making a diagnosis of infective endocarditis.

Treatment for endocarditis usually involves hospital admission for intravenous antibiotics. Some patients may also require an operation to repair or replace any damaged heart valves.

What if endocarditis is misdiagnosed?

Unfortunately, if endocarditis is misdiagnosed and treatment is delayed, the impact upon the sufferer may be catastrophic, and sadly, could even be fatal. The earlier the diagnosis, the better the chance of a good prognosis.

This is because the longer the infection has to develop, the more damage it is likely to cause to the heart valves and the higher the chance of developing other, often life-changing, conditions, including heart failure or stroke. It is therefore extremely important that a prompt diagnosis is made in order to minimise the devastating effects such a condition can have on a patient’s life.

Whilst the debate about antibiotics and infective endocarditis goes on, what we do know is that endocarditis can cause serious damage to a patient’s heart. Approximately 25% of people diagnosed with endocarditis end up requiring heart surgery, which may even result in a patient requiring a mechanical valve and medication for life.

Despite the best efforts of surgical teams, it is estimated 1 in 10 people will die during or shortly after surgery for endocarditis.

Can you make a compensation claim?

If you think you have suffered a delay in diagnosis or negligent treatment of infective endocarditis, you may be eligible to claim compensation. Please contact us for advice if you feel you may have an infective endocarditis compensation claim, or have suffered any form of clinical negligence.

It is important to contact us as soon as possible. This is because there are strict time limits in place for making a claim for compensation. Once contacted, our solicitors will be able to advise you specifically on the facts of your own case. We even have an in-house dual-qualified doctor/solicitor who can assist in assessing whether or not you may have suffered from clinical negligence.

Why choose us?

How can we help you?

Our team of specialist clinical negligence solicitors specialise in dealing with claims arising from the negligent treatment or delayed diagnosis of infective endocarditis. We have a wide range of experience in dealing with infective endocarditis compensation claims and understand that it is vital for medical professionals to diagnose the symptoms of endocarditis as early as possible. Failure to do so can result in significant injury to the patient or, in some circumstances, death.

We have developed brilliant working relationships with many cardiology experts who we know to be approachable and reliable in assisting us with infective endocarditis compensation claims, which allows us to ensure we get great expert advice for our clients.

Our team is headed by a dual-qualified doctor and solicitor, so we benefit from in-house medical knowledge. Our team of specialist clinical negligence solicitors would be happy to help. We can quickly and efficiently assess any areas of potential negligence for a wide range of claims.

Want to have a free and confidential chat in relation to a potential infective endocarditis claim? Give our team of specialist clinical negligence solicitors a call on 01244 354688.


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