Valvular Heart Disease:


normal conditions, the heart valves let blood to flow in only one direction. The four heart valves are:
1. Tricuspid valve, located between the right atrium and right ventricle;
2. Pulmonary valve, between the right ventricle and the pulmonary artery;
3. Mitral valve, between the left atrium and left ventricle;
4. Aortic valve, between the left ventricle and the aorta.
Type of Valve Disease: Two types of problems are as follows:
a) If a valve is narrowed (stenotic) blood has a difficult time crossing the valves, the heart has to work much harder to pump blood across the valve. Valvular Stenosis causes "logging of blood" behind the chamber of valves. This logged blood leads to increased pressure in the heart chambers behind the valve.
b) A second type of problem occurs when a valve (or valves) does not close completely, causing some blood to be pumped backwards (regurgitation / incompetence) instead of forwards in the heart.
Both the above-mentioned diseases can increase pressure due to increase blood volume in any of the cardiac chambers and can lead weakening of the heart muscle. The complications of these can be heart failure and death.
Problems with a heart valve (or valves) may occur because of disease, injury or congenital factors.
Infection:
Rheumatic fever- Rheumatic fever is found in children is a complication of untreated streptococcal infection. Streptococcal infections affect throat. To fight this bacterial infection the body makes its' own antibodies. Antibodies recognize the structure of certain parts of the bacterial surface, attach to it and destroy it. Unfortunately, the surface structure of certain body tissues (heart valves, skin, joints, kidneys, etc.) may resemble that of certain types of streptococcal bacteria. Thus the rheumatic fever antibodies that normally fight infection can attack the body's own tissues. Thus causing valve to degenerate.
Rheumatic fever usually occurs 2-6 weeks after untreated streptococcal infection of throat. Symptoms of rheumatic fever are multiple and may include:
a) Fever
b) Arthritis (pain, swelling and warmth) that shifts from joint to joint. Larger joints such as hips and knees tend to be more frequently effected.
c) Nodules may form under the skin on the backs side of the wrist, elbow, and knees
d) A temporary skin rash lasting several days may occur.
This can lead to degeneration of mitral valve, cardiac failure and death.The incidence of rheumatic fever in the Developing country has reduced. It is still common in poor parts of the world.
Warning: Any sore throat followed by joint swelling or pain in joints should be reported to Physician at the earliest. Injection of Penicillin can prevent injury to Mitral valve.

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