Rheumatic valvular disease is a sequel to a pharyngitis caused by a microbe called Group A streptococcus that does not receive antibiotic treatment.
Up to 20% of the pharyngitis are caused by streptococcus and a small part of them end up developing a rheumatic fever (high fever, joint pains, neurological manifestations …).
After a rheumatic fever, 90% of those affected develop, over the years, a rheumatic involvement of the CARDIAC VALVES. Several valves of the heart can be affected, but most often it is finding mitral and aortic valve disease in the form of narrowing (stenosis) or difficulty closing (insufficiency).
When valve replacement is already well advanced, the only treatment is heart surgery to repair or replace valves.
In developing countries it is a problem of great magnitude:
- 15 million cases in the world.
- 282,000 deaths each year.
- 250,000 new cases each year, the vast majority in young patients.
In these developing countries there is no health education and it is not easy to have access to health because it does not exist or it is very deficient. For that reason, it is difficult or impossible to diagnose the rheumatic disease and give it an appropriate treatment.