Harvard Heart Letter

When an infection attacks the heart

The resulting inflammation can cause debilitating pain and may damage different parts of the heart. Nestled deep in the chest and covered in a protective layer of tissue, your heart usually fends off infections. But bacteria and viruses in the blood occasionally invade the heart, creating inflammation and other problems. Often, these problems are short-lived and relatively benign. But sometimes, the infection and resulting inflammation are more worrisome. …

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