Rheumatic fever - Complications of rheumatic fever
NHS Choices Medical Reference
Rheumatic heart disease
Rheumatic heart disease is both the most common and the most serious complication that can arise in cases of rheumatic fever, occurring in an estimated 9-34% of cases.
Rheumatic heart disease develops when high levels of inflammation lead to the valves in the heart becoming damaged and stiffened, meaning that the normal flow of blood through the heart has been disrupted.
Symptoms of rheumatic heart disease include:
Mild to moderate rheumatic heart disease can usually be treated with medication, such as ACE inhibitors. ACE inhibitors relax your arteries, making it easier for your heart to pump blood around your body.
Moderate to severe rheumatic heart disease may require surgery. For example, damaged valves can be removed and then replaced with artificial valves.