Rheumatic heart disease is a preventable and controllable chronic heart condition arising from acute rheumatic fever, says the World Heart Federation. Strep infection complications can cause rheumatic fever. Acute rheumatic fever damages the heart valves, which can cause complications such as heart failure and death.
Rheumatic heart disease is persistent in developing countries due to poor living conditions, overcrowding, poor nutrition and limited access to proper health care. Prevention involves administering oral or injected penicillin antibiotic to treat strep infections. Secondary prevention protects against repeated rheumatic fever attacks. Treatment for patients with severe valve damage involves surgery to replace the valves, reports the World Heart Federation.