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  1. Fink, Anne M. BSN, RN, CCRN


Overview: The incidence of infective endocarditis, an inflammation of the heart valves, the endocardium, or both that's caused by bacterial, viral, or fungal agents, continues to rise despite advances in treatment. People with prosthetic valves are among those at highest risk, and mortality rates can be extremely high, especially in cases of early onset. Diagnosis is challenging, in part because signs and symptoms associated with systemic infections can mask signs of the underlying endocarditis. This article outlines the causes and effects of prosthetic valve-related endocarditis (PVE), describes its signs and symptoms, discusses the leading diagnostic tests and criteria, and addresses prevention and treatment, as well as nursing implications.