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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 may be short of breath, particularly with activity or when lying down.

Those with myocarditis or pericarditis may also 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 recent strep infections, 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 — the sound of blood moving in the heart in a way that’s not normal.

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.

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

Who Treats This at Seattle Children's?

Should your child see a doctor?

Find out by selecting your child’s symptom or health condition in the list below:

Spring 2014: Good Growing Newsletter

In This Issue

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  • Bystanders Can Intervene to Stop Bullying

Download Spring 2014 (PDF)