Heart and Blood Conditions

Rheumatic Heart Disease Symptoms and Diagnosis

Symptoms of Rheumatic Heart Disease

Children with rheumatic heart disease may not have any clear symptoms.

If your child has aortic or mitral valve abnormalities due to rheumatic fever, they may have symptoms related to these valve problems. Some symptoms that may suggest a problem with these valves include being short of breath, particularly with activity or when lying down.

Children with myocarditis or pericarditis may have chest pain or swelling.

Your child may also have other effects of rheumatic fever, like joint pain and inflammation.

Rheumatic Heart Disease Diagnosis

To diagnose this condition, your doctor will ask about any recent strep infections (strep throat) or sore throat episodes, examine your child and use a stethoscope to listen to their heart. In children with rheumatic heart disease, doctors can often hear a heart murmur.

During the exam, your child’s doctor will look for signs of inflammation in your child’s joints.

The doctor will ask for details about your child’s symptoms, their health history and your family health history. Your doctor may order a throat culture or a blood test to check for strep throat or signs of a recent strep infection, as well as performing other blood tests.

Your child will also need tests that provide information about how their heart looks and works. These may include a chest X-ray, echocardiography, electrocardiogram or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) of the heart.

Contact Us

Contact the Heart Center at 206-987-2015 for a cardiac referral, a second opinion or more information.