Endocarditis is an infection of the inner wall of the heart and /or the heart valves caused by bacteria that enter the blood stream. It is serious and requires action . It is not a common infection but people with a heart condition are at a greater risk of developing it than those with a normal heart. You can get endocarditis more than once.

The following factors can increase the risk of endocarditis:

  • Using contaminated needles
  • Bacteria from skin infections
  • Tooth abscesses
  • Body piercing and tattoos

Avoid tattoos and body piercing due to the risk of infection.

To help reduce the risk of endocarditis, keep good dental hygiene. Clean your teeth twice a day and have regular visits to the dentist every 6-12 months. If you are not registered with a dentist, the details on how to do it are below.

Find an NHS Dentist

Everyone should have access to good quality NHS dental services. Try to find a practice that's convenient for you and phone them to see if any appointments are available. Ask if you’re not sure whether the practice provides NHS care.

The service finder on the NHS website enables you to find local NHS services, including dentists. You will need to contact the dental practice directly and check whether they are currently accepting NHS patients. 


Exercise: Physical activity in self-isolation


Heart Research UK

A guide to congenital heart disease: Adult patient resources

Somerville Foundation Website

Information to help you exercise safely

British Heart Foundation

How to get active indoors

How to keep healthy while you’re self-isolating -  – includes an exercise clip..

Live Well



Exercise Clips

Sports England

Join the movement - Stay in, work out

Join the movement is a brand-new campaign from Sport England designed to give you the advice and tools to help you do this while the country deals with the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak.

Joe Wicks

10 Minute chair work-out for seniors (low intensity)

This short home workout is designed for seniors or for anyone looking for something a bit lighter. Take care when exercises and if you don't already exercise regularly take it slowly at first.

The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy

Stay active at home

A simple set of exercises designed especially for older people to help everyone stay active at home.

British Heart Foundation

Cardiac Rehabilitation Exercise Videos

Yoga Exercises You Can Try at Home


Young people's mental health

The Advantage Programme

Advantage is a free mental health and wellbeing mentoring programme for young people aged 14-21.

NHS - Every Mind Matters

Mental health and self-care for young people.

Prof Henrietta Bowden-Jones

Prof Henrietta Bowden-Jones is a medical doctor and neuroscience researcher working as Consultant psychiatrist in Addictions.


Other useful tips

  • Always take your medication and never run out. If you take Warfarin ensure you have your INR checked.
  • Please bring a list of your medication to clinic
  • Take care with alcohol intake as excess can cause heart rhythm problems. Rhythm problems can also be caused by caffeine containing stimulant drinks such as Red Bull, Monster and Relentless.
  • Taking any kind of regular exercise is very beneficial for the health of the whole body. Follow the ‘Talk Test’ (Still being able to talk whilst exercising, despite being breathless). Avoid lifting or pushing heavy weights (“heavy” = generally more than one third of your body weight). If unsure about exercise possibilities, ask the ACHD team
  • Eat a healthy and balanced diet
  • If travelling overseas ensure you have appropriate travel insurance. Always declare your medical conditions.
  • Have annual flu vaccination and pneumonia vaccination every 5 years
  • For female patients careful family planning is important, as pregnancy can be high risk. Speak to your ACHD consultant or specialist nurse for advice. Let us know immediately if you become pregnant.
  • Do not smoke
  • Avoid use of recreational or illegal drugs

Useful websites

Here are some useful websites to access further information about your condition:

Hearts for teens

The Sommerville Foundation

British Heart Foundation


Created By Parents

Home from Home Care

Useful contact details

ACHD Nursing Team: 01223 638000 - ask for bleep 117

ACHD Outpatient Booking Team: 01223 639773 / 639668  

ACHD Clinic Coordinator: 01223 639785

Email: papworth.achdnurses@nhs.net