Vegetations and Clots

What are vegetations and clots?

Vegetations can build up in the heart due to endocarditis, an infection of the inner lining of the heart chambers and valves. If this infection occurs, bacteria, fungi and other germs can invade your blood and in turn attach themselves to abnormal areas of your heart. This build up is known as vegetation and can cause blood clots, which can cause serious damage to the heart and other vital organs.

A structural defect or faulty valves in the heart are the most likely causes of suffering from this infection and the build up of vegetations, although some with a healthy heart can develop vegetations due to other causes, such as poor mouth hygiene.

Those with artificial heart aids, such as valve replacements or pacemakers, may also be susceptible to infection and the build up of vegetation.


What are the symptoms of vegetations and clots?

The symptoms vary from patient to patient depending upon the existence of an underlying or pre-existing heart condition and the type of the germ that's causing the infection.

Symptoms may include aching muscles and joints, chills, fever, headaches, breathlessness, a new or change to an existing heart murmur, nausea, or a swelling to the abdomen, legs or feet.



What assessment do I need if I have vegetations and clots?

Management of this condition often requires admission to hospital. In addition to blood tests, your consultant is likely to use an echocardiogram (TTE) to image your heart, and may then require an transesophageal echo (TOE) to obtain a clearer image. Both assessments are pain free, although there may be a little discomfort during the TOE when the ultrasound probe is passed down the oesophagus (food pipe).


What are the treatments for vegetations and clots?

Vegetations and clots are treated in the first instance by a course of antibiotics, however, surgery may be required depending on the severity of the condition.

  • ASD / PFO Closure

    This minimally invasive procedure is used to close holes in the heart. [READ MORE]

  • CTCA Scan & Calcium Score

    This scan is used to ascertain the risk of a heart attack or stroke within the next 5-10 years. [READ MORE]

  • Echocardiogram (TTE)

    An 'echo' is an ultrasound scan of the heart to assess structure and function. [READ MORE]

  • MRI Scan / CMR Scan

    These scans enable cardiologists to view detailed images of the heart’s anatomy. [READ MORE]

  • Transoesophageal Echocardiogram (TOE)

    Sometimes an ‘echo’ scan of the heart requires an ultrasound probe to be passed down the food pipe to provide a clearer image. [READ MORE]



View All


View All