A man was left with a bulging lump on his hand and a deadly heart infection after a simple trip to the dentist, doctors claim.
The 27-year-old, from Canada, was diagnosed with endocarditis – which can trigger heart failure and is caused when bacteria reaches the heart.
Medics in Vancouver believe that the killer bug triggered the bulging blood vessel, or aneurysm, in his hand.
They claim that the endocarditis may have been caused by a recent dental trip that dislodged harmful bacteria in his mouth that reached his heart.
The 27-year-old, from Canada, was diagnosed with endocarditis – which can trigger heart failure and is caused when bacteria reaches the heart
Experts at the University of British Columbia yesterday published the case in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine.
The man initially complained of a red patch on his hand – but within two weeks it transformed into a bulging, blue lump.
He sought medical help at a local hospital after he became concerned about the constant pain he experienced in his abdomen.
Doctors then quizzed the patient and discovered he suffered fevers, a decreased appetite and night sweats for six weeks.
WHAT IS ENDOCARDITIS?
Endocarditis is an infection of the heart’s inner lining and valves.
If untreated, it can lead to life-threatening heart failure.
Endocarditis affects around one in every 30,000 people every year in the UK and four in 100,000 in the US.
Symptoms often develop slowly over several weeks and can include:
- Flu-like symptoms – tiredness, headache, chills, cough, sore throat
- Unexplained weight loss
- Pale skin
- Aching muscles and joints
Endocarditis is usually caused by bacteria, which may enter the bloodstream and travel to the heart.
It is more common in people who have had heart-valve surgery, suffer from heart disease, are an IV drug user or have poor dental hygiene.
Treatment starts with IV antibiotics.
Surgery may be required to repair heart damage.
Source: British Heart Foundation
Dr Bashaar Alibrahim and Dr George Wharmby revealed in the journal that he had lost 1st 12lbs (12kg) during his illness.
Tests noted small areas of dead tissue in his spleen and left kidney
And it was revealed there was an infected mass on his aortic valve, which regulates blood flow from the heart into the main artery.
Cultures of his blood samples came back positive for Streptococcus salivarius – found mainly in the mouth.
Medics then diagnosed the man with bacterial endocarditis – which strikes one in 30,000 people every year in the UK and US.
The spread of the infection then damaged the vessels supplying blood to his hand – leading to the raise, pulsating lump.
Writing in the journal, they claimed that his infection was ‘possibly related to poor oral hygiene and a recent dental procedure’.
The potentially fatal heart infection can often be caused when bacteria from the mouth get into the bloodstream.
This can happen from bleeding or inflammation in the gums, or when bugs are dislodged during routine dental treatment.
Antibiotics cleared up the man’s infection with two days. But he needed surgery to repair his aneurysm and replace his aortic valve.