Join Clinical Trials for Endocarditis
Endocarditis refers to infection of the inner lining of the heart, also known as the endocardium. It is generally caused by a bacterial infection that spreads from another part of the body to the heart. If it is untreated, it can damage – and even destroy – the valves of the heart, and can result in life-threatening side effects.
Surgery may be required to treat severe cases of endocarditis, but thankfully it can generally be managed with the use of antibiotic therapy. Fortunately, endocarditis rarely affects individuals who have healthy hearts; however, if you or a loved one has a condition that puts you at an increased risk for endocarditis (such as a damaged or artificial heart valve), clinical trials for endocarditis may be of considerable interest and value to you.
Fortunately, researchers are hard at work investigating new methods of treating endocarditis – both from a surgical standpoint as well as a medicinal one – and great strides are being made every day toward this goal.
In addition, research is also looking at better ways to characterize and diagnose endocarditis, as well as improving the rehabilitation and long-term outcome of patients who are treated for endocarditis.
What Will Clinical Trials for Endocarditis Be Like?
The types of tests and assessments used in endocarditis clinical trials will ultimately depend on the specific nature of the study and what aspects of endocarditis are being investigated. Provided below is a list of frequent procedures and tests used to evaluate the heart, heart functioning, and its impact on the body in general, many of which may be incorporated for use in clinical trials:
- Physical exam
- Blood tests to identify bacteria in the bloodstream, as well as to identify the presence of conditions such as anemia (low red blood cells), which can further support the diagnosis of endocarditis.
- Echocardiography (“echo”): a painless procedure that uses ultrasound to create moving pictures of your heart, which allow doctors to see its size, shape, and how well it is working. During a procedure known as transesophageal echocardiography, a long, thin ultrasound probe is guided down the throat into the esophagus, which is directly behind the heart, in order to obtain more detailed pictures.
- Electrocardiogram (EKG, or ECG): a straightforward and painless procedure that records the electrical activity of the heart. This test tells doctors how fast your heart is beating, the regularity (or irregularity) of your heart rhythm, and strength and timing of the electrical signals that constantly pass through the heart.
- Chest x-ray
- Computed tomography (CT scan, or “CAT scan”) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans: these are non-invasive imaging procedures, similar to an x-ray, that allow doctors to take detailed pictures of your heart.
- Blood tests to evaluate the effectiveness or chemical properties of a medication, if you are participating in a clinical trial that is investigating the use of a new drug.
- Pain and quality of life assessments, as well as exercise diaries, may also be required in some studies, depending on the research question being studied.
Typical Protocol for Clinical Trials for Endocarditis:
Specific examples of Clinical Trials for Endocarditis for the various forms of cardiomyopathy might include the following:
- A randomized clinical trial that investigates the use of orally-administered antibiotic therapy to the standard method of administering antibiotic therapy (intravenously, or through an IV) to determine if one method is more effective at reducing the need for later surgery, clot formation, and relapse of infection in individuals with endocarditis.
- A study designed to determine if transesophageal echocardiography or standard CT scans are more effective at visualizing endocarditis.
- A randomized clinical trial to determine if a newly developed antibiotic is more effective than standard antibiotic therapy plus placebo at a) treating the bacterial causes of endocarditis and b) reducing the associated side effects of treatment.
- A randomized clinical trial to determine if a new state-of-the-art surgical treatment for endocarditis is more effective at reducing endocarditis-related death than standard surgical treatment.
A brief word about randomized trials and placebos:
Many clinical trials involve the comparison of an investigational treatment to a “standard” treatment. Some studies determine which therapy a patient receives through a process known as randomization, in which patients are randomly assigned to receive either the investigational treatment or the standard treatment.
On occasion, a trial will investigate the use of a standard treatment plus a new drug compared to standard treatment plus a placebo (such as the third clinical trial example given above). Placebos are inactive or “sham” treatments that are identical in appearance to the active treatment but have no therapeutic value.
Placebos are necessary to help determine if adverse effects that occur during the clinical trial are the result of the investigational treatment or due to some other factor. They also allow researchers to measure the effects of the active treatment and observe what would have happened without it.
In rare instances where no standard therapy exists, or when a new drug or therapy is being investigated, the investigational treatment might be compared to a placebo alone. In these types of trials, those patients who are randomized to the placebo group do not receive an active treatment.
It is important to know that placebo-only trials are only conducted when scientifically necessary and when patients have been adequately informed that they may end up receiving the placebo rather than the active treatment.
It is very important to note, however, that no one should ever participate in such a placebo trial when there is a widely available and highly effective standard treatment already in existence for their particular disease or condition.
Trial Eligibility and Medical Information Needed:
The type of clinical trial you may be eligible for often depends on many factors, including your history of heart disease, treatment history, and a variety of clinical findings. Therefore, it is important to know many details pertaining to your specific diagnosis when searching for clinical trials. Examples of the details you may want to have on hand include:
- Your prior history of heart disease
- Your prior history of treatment for heart disease (including any surgeries, procedures, and medications)
- Your current medications (including aspirin), vitamins, and dietary supplements
- Your most recent blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglyceride (i.e., lipid) levels
Suggested Search Terms:
“endocarditis rehabilitation,” “endocarditis risk factors,” “endocarditis prevention,” “endocarditis treatment,” “endocarditis antibiotics,” “endocarditis surgery,” “endocarditis side effects,” and “endocarditis quality of life,” “Clinical Trials for Endocarditis.”
Current Search Term: