D. FERGUSON, ISM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY D. FERGUSON, ISM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Bacteria on artery wall. Light micrograph of microbial vegetation (lumps) on the internal (luminal) surface of the aorta, in a case of endocarditis (heart inflammation and infection). Colonies of Staphlyococcus aureus bacteria (blue) are seen. The thick, muscular lining of the aorta, the body's major artery, is seen across centre (light pink), with the rest of the arterial wall seen beneath it. This infection has spread here from the endocardium, the inner lining of the heart. Large growths like this can detach and travel to, and block, heart, lung and brain blood vessels, with fatal results. Large doses of antibiotics are needed to penetrate the vegetations and treat the infection.
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