The symptoms of endocarditis can develop rapidly over the course of a few days (acute endocarditis), or slowly over the course of a few weeks or possibly months (subacute endocarditis).
Subacute endocarditis is more common in people with congenital heart disease.
The most common symptoms of endocarditis include:
- a high temperature
- night sweats
- shortness of breath, especially during physical activity
- tiredness (fatigue)
- muscle and joint pain
Other symptoms can include:
- small red or purple spots on the skin (petechiae)
- narrow, reddish-brown lines of blood that run underneath the nails
- painful red lumps in the pads of the fingers and toes
- painless red spots on the palms and soles
Contact your GP as soon as possible if you develop any of the above symptoms, particularly if you're at a higher risk of developing endocarditis, such as having a history of heart disease.
A stroke is one of the most serious complications that can develop from endocarditis.
If you suspect a stroke, dial 999 immediately to request an ambulance.
The most effective way to identify the symptoms of a stroke is to remember the word FAST, which stands for:
- Face – the face may have dropped on 1 side, the person may be unable to smile, or their mouth or eye may have dropped
- Arms – the person with suspected stroke may not be able to lift both arms and keep them there because of weakness or numbness in 1 arm
- Speech – their speech may be slurred or garbled, or the person may not be able to talk at all despite appearing to be awake; they may also have problems understanding what you're saying to them
- Time – it's time to dial 999 immediately if you see any of these signs or symptoms