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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Infective endocartitis


Bob Foster
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I am researching a soldier who was with the Coldstream Guards on August 21st 1918. They were involved in an attack and there was also gas there. Is infective endocartitis a result of a bullet or shell wound or of gas ? Or neither of these ?

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Bob

Endocarditis-inflammation of the membrane lining the heart,blood born infection from another source,so could have been the result of bullet/shrapnel wound but could quite easily have been due to an infected tooth which is a common cause of endocarditis.

Regards Doug

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  • 1 year later...

Hello

which Coldstreamer are you researching ? might be able to help you out

Ian

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I am researching a soldier who was with the Coldstream Guards on August 21st 1918. They were involved in an attack and there was also gas there. Is infective endocartitis a result of a bullet or shell wound or of gas ?  Or neither of these ?

Although a traumatic etiology (e.g. bullet or shell fragment) is possible, as noted by Doug, I would guess it is EXTREMELY unlikely. This (endocarditis) is normally, in peacetime as well as in wartime, an infectious disease, either from a bacteria or from a virus. There are other causes, but especially since they called it "infective endocarditis", I would go along with this as the best bet for a cause. I can't think of any way that you would get this as a result of gas exposure. In today's military, this would almost invariably be classed as a Disease, Non-Battle Injury (DNBI). Doc2

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I can't think of any way that you would get this as a result of gas exposure.  (DNBI).   Doc2

Wouldn`t gas exposure make one susceptible to secondary bacterial or viral infection? :( Phil B (non-medic!)

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Infective Endocarditis is caused by a blood borne infection as Doug says.

People particularly susceptible are those with a heart defect e.g hole in the heart or have damage to the heart caused by rheumatic fever.

It is normally a bacterial infection and a common route is through the mouth so if the soldier had bleeding gums or had a dental abcess bacteria from his mouth could have entered his blood stream. The bacteria then settle on the heart and if there is a scar like defect they are less likely to be destroyed by the body's defence system so multiply and cause inflammation around the heart

Jane

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Wouldn`t gas exposure make one susceptible to secondary bacterial or viral infection?  :(  Phil B (non-medic!)

Phil, I guess that theoretically that could be identified as a possible cause (reduced resistence to infection following damage to the alveolar lining, or possibly the damage to the lining giving a better route of access to an infective agent), but I have no references which really address an increase in pulmonary infections following gas exposure. From a practical standpoint, I suspect there is no way you could ever prove such a connection at this late date. As others have said, dental abcesses are a much more likely possibility than being directly related to gas exposure. Doc2

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