What is rheumatic heart disease?
Rheumatic heart disease is heart disease secondary to one or more attacks of rheumatic fever. Rheumatic fever involves mainly the heart valves and produces long lasting damage. In the initial stages the valve becomes leaky (regurgitation). Later on the valve becomes distorted and thickened, narrowing the orifice (stenosis). The valves on the left side of the heart (mitral valve and aortic valve) are more frequently involved than that on the right side (tricuspid valve and pulmonary valve).