Rheumatic Heart Disease

Lindsay Staples

What it is...

Rheumatic Heart Disease is a short term or long term heart disorder that can occur as a result of Rheumatic fever. Rheumatic fever causes inflammation of the connective tissue of mostly the heart, joints and brain. This causes heart valve damage and could lead to a valve disorder. The heart valves will narrow to limit blood flow, this is called Mitral Stenosis. This disease affects many children in the developing world and can affect people with untreated A streptococcal infection.

Symptoms and Signs

Chest pain, excessive fatigue, heart palpitations ( when the heat misses a beat or flutters), a thumping sensation in the chest, shortness of breathe and swollen ankles, wrists or stomach are all symptoms that could result in Rheumatic Heart Disease.
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To prevent strep throat, take basic health measures, such as washing your hands regularly. If you do catch strep throat see a doctor as soon as possible to receive antibiotics. If strep throat advances to Rheumatic Fever, see a doctor to recieve stronger antibiotics to prevent a reoccurring attack of the fever. It is important to have these antibiotics to stop further damage of the heart, this medication is usually taken for many years.

Around 15 million children develop Rheumatic Heart Disease each year.

About half a million children die each year because of it.


If the patient is still experiencing the symptoms of strep throat, the doctor will run tests for Rheumatic Fever. If Rheumatic Fever is found, the heart could be in danger of Rheumatic Heart Disease. Doctors can prescribe oral medication for patients with A Streptococcal infections to prevent Rheumatic fever. Patients with Rheumatic Fever are at risk for recurring attacks, they will receive regular administrations of antibiotics occurring over many years to prevent further damage to the heart. Surgery is often needed to repair the damaged valves of the heart when damage becomes to severe.
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Untreated A streptococcal infections can advance to Rheumatic fever. Rheumatic fever causes damage to the heart and can reoccur multiple times. As the heart valves worsen, the condition is then diagnosed as Rheumatic Heart Disease. This happens when the heart valves have been damaged over a period of time and can no longer do their job properly and efficiently.
Rheumatic Fever and Rheumatic Heart Disease in the Pacific.wmv