Rheumatic Heart Disease

Rheumatic heart disease is a complication of rheumatic fever in which the heart valves are damaged. Rheumatic fever is an inflammatory disease that arises with strep throat. It harms the connective tissues throughout the body, mainly in the heart, joints, brain and skin. The best way to prevent rheumatic fever is to treat strep throat with antibiotics. Treatment of this disease includes antibiotics treatment for strep infection and additional medications to ease the inflammation of the heart and other symptoms. Aspirin is usually given in large doses until the joint inflammation goes away. Once the acute illness has gone away, patients need to take antibiotics, for many years to prevent recurrences. This is a very important treatment because the risk of heart valve damage increases if rheumatic fever recurs.

  • Diagnosis
  • Echocardiography
  • Prevention using antibiotic therapy
  • Surgical repair or replacement of a damaged heart valve
  • Genetic susceptibility

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