Why Injection Increases Risk of Endocarditis

Why does injecting substances increase the risk of Infective Endocarditis (IE)?

When you inject substances into your blood, there are two things that can happen which increase your chances of getting a sickness called infective endocarditis:

  1. If you don’t use clean/sterile supplies when injecting, germs like bacteria or fungi can enter your blood.

  2. The germs can then travel to your heart and stick to the valves. This can cause infective endocarditis.

When you inject substances, it can make your heart valves become “stickier”. This can make it easier for the germs to grow on them, which increases the chance of getting infective endocarditis. The more often you inject without using clean/sterile practices, the higher your risk of getting infective endocarditis.

Injection of cocaine or other stimulants can also harm your heart valves and increase the risk of getting Infective endocarditis.

How can you lower your risk of getting Infective Endocarditis?

  • Use safe injection practices (link to our tab on safe injection)

  • Keep the injection site clean. Use soap and water or alcohol pads, and cover the site with a band-aid or gauze after injecting.|

  • If you get an abscess or skin infection, get it treated right away. If left untreated, the germs can spread to your blood and cause infective endocarditis.

  • Brush your teeth and see your dentist regularly. Bacteria from your mouth can also travel to your blood and infect your heart.

Use Safe Injection

Keep Injection
Sites Clean

Treat Abscesses
and Infections

Brush Your Teeth
and See a Dentist