Dr.Kamini Silvarajan MD/AAAM

Editorial Board: Kamini Silvarajan MD/AAAM

Rheumatic Heart Disease Fever

Frequent and acute Rheumatic Fever (RF) is considered as a systemic form of heart disease. It usually occurs during childhood period. The disease itself develops after sore throat (streptococcal infection). On the other hand, Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD) refers to the condition which includes the signs and symptoms of RF and swelling of the heart (inflammation of inner, middle and outer part of the heart).

This condition usually occurs if there is problem with the vein and artery. Commonly, RF can affect children ages 5 to 15 and the condition is considered as a lifelong disease.

The treatment goals for this type of heart disease includes:

  1. People who have RF or RHD need to have stable vital signs. The rate and the rhythm of the heart should remain within normal limits;
  2. If infection subsided, they need to increase the level of their daily activities;
  3. Anyone who is suffering from this condition should be free from pain; and
  4. They need to verbalize their understanding with regards to the current condition and should comply with the given treatment regimen.
Caring of people with RHD is given with penicillin. This is the best drug to treat the condition. However, there are some who are sensitive to the drug. They need to undergo the drug sensitivity test before they start taking the drug. This is to prevent anaphylactic shock (hypersensitivity causing death). The purpose for this is to enhance their understanding with regards to the possible complications that can occur if they developed hypersensitivity to the drug.

The common signs and symptoms associated to hypersensitivity to penicillin are chills, rashes, fever and shortness of breath. In cases that these manifestations are being displayed by the person, they need to stop taking the drug and consult the doctor immediately.

They also need to understand the common manifestations of heart failure. This is very crucial because it can help them to identify the impending complication. The signs and symptoms of heart failure are hacking of non-productive cough (coughing without phlegm) and dyspnea (difficulty of breathing).

People with RHD or RF are reinforced to take bed rest. They also need to avoid activities that require overexertion. This approach can help lower the oxygen demand of the heart. After the acute phase of the condition, it is recommended that the folks (family and significant persons) to stay with the client and spend enough time with them. This is to alleviate stress and anxiety. Take note that stress or anxiety can also contribute to the development of other complications related to RHD.

Everyone with RHD should need to report symptoms that are associated with sore throat, pain when swallowing and swelling of the neck to the doctor. This is to prevent further worsening of the condition. Early diagnosis of recurrent RF can help prevent the development of RHD. 

On the other hand, people with active RHD are advised to take antibiotics. They need to comply with the prescribed regimen. Additionally, they also need to take another set of antibiotics before undergoing any dental surgery.

Doctor also recommends follow-up care for people with RHD. This is to monitor the progress of condition and how they respond to the given treatment – By Edterchelle Soriano