I’ve written before how CHDers need to avoid Endocarditis if at all possible. Endocarditis is caused by a bacterial infection in the bloodstream, and it happens a lot more often than you think it does. If you are healthy, your immune systems can usually smother the infection pretty quickly and you may not even feel bad. But if you have a heart problem, sometimes that bacteria can get a foothold and start growing, and then all kinds of problems can develop. I’ve spent seven weeks in the hospital with Endocarditis and had to have a cyst taken out of my brain because of it. Not fun!
The easiest ways to prevent Endocarditis is to be prescribed oral antibiotics before a dental appointment (if you need them; not every CHDer does. Check with your Cardiologist) and if you get a small cut or injury, STOP and take care of it right then. Would you rather spend ten minutes cleaning up a wound and then covering it with a Band-Aid when you injure yourself or two months in the hospital after it becomes infected?
From the EchoJournal website, here is a look at some of the damage that can happen from Endocarditis: This person had the bacteria lodge inside of his/her Pulmonary Valve and begin to grow. Now it is a vegetative growth inside the valve, but trust me, this is a vegetable garden that you want absolutely nothing to do with! On top of the weeks of IV antibiotics, this person will need heart surgery to replace that damaged valve.