What is Rheumatic Heart Disease?

Rheumatic Heart Disease is a direct result or complication of a previous attack of Rheumatic Fever. The major complication is that it can produces a deformity or infection on one of the Heart Valves. This can also cause some Cardiac Inflammation.

Pancarditis is often an early finding – this means that inflammation is seen in the myocardium, endocardium, and epicardium. The trigger is an autoimmune reaction to a previous (possibly untreated) infection with group A streptoccoci or Strept throat.Damage of these heart valves are often seen.

The real concern or complication of the damaged valve is that when damaged it can lead to heart failure in bad outcomes. Chronic problems include fibrosis of the heart and stenosis and/or insufficiency of the heart valves. Symptoms may be seen on the skin, joints, or overall fatigue in the individual.

Check out some of the main Symptoms:

–  Chest pain
–  Difficulty breathing
–  Shortness of breath
–  Fatigue
–  Weakness
–  Heart palpitations
–  Fever
–  Swollen, tender, red, and extremely painful joints  (often knees, ankles, elbows, or wrists)
–  Nodules over swollen joints
–  Rash  (Red and raised that can appear like lattice – often found on chest, back, and abdomen)
–  Uncontrolled movements of arms, legs, or facial muscles.

Rheumatic Heart Disease


Which Heart valves can be attacked?

70% – of the cases involve Mitral valve.
25% – Aortic
5 % – can be in Tricuspid or Pulmonary valves

Valvular Stenosis and insufficiency are often the result, which refers to the opening and closing of the valves

More than one valve can be affected.


Treatment options:

Surgery for replacement of valves – when necessary

Treatment of Cardiac Inflammation and other heart changes

Medications to help with blood pressure and cardiac remodeling may be required.