Topic Overview

Cardiovascular
syphilis refers to the infection of the heart and
related blood vessels by the syphilis bacteria. This complication usually
begins as an
inflammation of the arteries. Destruction caused by
cardiovascular syphilis can be life-threatening.

Complications of cardiovascular syphilis include:

  • Narrowing of the blood vessels that supply blood
    to the heart, which may lead to heart attack and possibly death.
  • Damage
    to heart valves that may lead to
    heart failure.
  • Aortic aneurysm. If a vessel becomes weak enough, it can rupture and cause
    death.

Antibiotic treatment cures the syphilis infection and
stops the progress of cardiovascular syphilis. But the damage that has already
occurred may not be reversed.

Related Information

Credits

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Kathleen Romito, MD – Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Kevin C. Kiley, MD – Obstetrics and Gynecology

Current as ofMarch 20, 2017