Endocarditis is an infection of the endocardium or the heart valves. The endocardium is the membrane that lines the inner surfaces of the heart. Endocarditis may occur in people who have certain pre-existing heart diseases.

Without medical treatment, the infection may severely harm or even destroy the heart valves. Some dental and surgical procedures increase the risk of endocarditis because bacteria may be introduced into the bloodstream. Endocarditis is also known as ‘infective endocarditis’ or ‘bacterial endocarditis’.