Rheumatic Heart Disease
Rheumatic heart disease is caused by one or more attacks of rheumatic fever, which damage the heart, particularly the heart valves. Rheumatic fever usually occurs in childhood, and may follow a streptococcal infection. In some cases, the infection affects the heart and may result in scarring of the valves, weakening the heart muscle, or damaging the sac enclosing the heart. The valves are sometimes scarred so they do not open and close normally (valvular leakage).