Rheumatic endocarditis is an inflammation of the endocardium. The inflammatory process if mostly localized in the valve endocardium, the layer which covers the tendons and papillary muscles, and rarely the parietal endocardium may be affected. An inflammation of the endocardium is always accompanied by inflammation of the myocardium, which is why at times one may find this disease under the name endomyocarditis rheumatica.
Rheumatic endocarditis is an inflammation of the endocardium. The inflammatory process if mostly localized in the valve endocardium, the layer which covers the tendons and papillary muscles, and rarely the parietal endocardium may be affected.
Clinical symptoms appear 8 to 10 days after the rheumatic attack and they include: high fever (rises and falls periodically), extreme fatigue, rhythm disruptions, a feeling of heaviness and pain in the precordium, dyspnea (difficulties breathing).
The main cause for this disease is the betahaemolytic Streptococcus of group A, which is found in common infectious sites such as the mouth; in dental granulomas, dental abscesses, paradontosis, and other infections such as chronic tonsillitis.
A definitive diagnosis can be made via an objective examination which will involve investigating for auscultative symptoms, which are the only symptoms which can belie potential damage of the endocardium.
Rheumatic endocarditis patients may suffer from the following complications: rhythm disruptions (like arrhythmias), cardiac insufficienc (which often constitutes the most common cause of death of these patients), infarctions and embolisms, etc.
Prophylactic treatment is usually conducted via the use of antibiotics, just as in cases of acute rheumatic polyarthritis. Each time these patients suffer from bacterial infections they must be immediately medicated with antibiotics.