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Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD)

Rheumatic heart disease is cardiac inflammation and scarring triggered by an autoimmune reaction to infection with group A streptococci. In the acute stage, this condition consists of pancarditis, involving inflammation of the myocardium, endocardium, and epicardium. Chronic disease is manifested by valvular fibrosis, resulting in stenosis and/or insufficiency.

Rheumatic fever is rare before age 5 years and after age 25 years; it is most frequently observed in children and adolescents. The highest incidence is observed in children aged 5-15 years and in underdeveloped or developing countries where antibiotics are not routinely dispensed for pharyngitis and where compliance is low.