A patient is admitted to the cardiac unit with endocarditis. The patient asks how someone catches this illness. Which of the following should the nurse include when explaining risk factors of endocarditis to the patient? 

Dental procedures
History of mitral valve replacement
History of rheumatic fever

Explanation

• Endocarditis is an infection or inflammation of the inner lining of the heart, known as the endocardium.

• The major risk factors for endocarditis include history of a mechanical heart valve replacement, rheumatic fever, dental procedures, IV drug use, and immunosuppression.

• Heart valves do not receive a dedicated supply of blood. This results in a blunted immune response to valve infections. Microbes can therefore attach to the surface of a valve and form a vegetation without a significant response from the body.

• Age, congestive heart failure (CHF), diet, and diabetes play a major role in cardiovascular disease, but they are not associated with endocarditis.

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