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The endocardium is the inner lining of your heart. Endocarditis is when bacteria, or other microorganisms from another part of your body, spread through the bloodstream and attach to the endocardium. This infection can damage or destroy parts of your heart (eg, heart valves). In addition to damaging your heart, endocarditis can cause several additional complications. They include: stroke or organ damage; infections in other parts of your body; and heart failure. Endocarditis is a life threatening condition that can be treated and often cured with antibiotics, and in severe cases, surgery.

If your heart is healthy, it is unlikely that you will develop endocarditis. People at risk for endocarditis are those with damaged heart valves, artificial heart valves, a history of illegal IV drug use, or congenital heart defects.