Treatment may include dedication and surgery. Medication will aim to avoid overexertion. Surgery may be needed to replace the damaged valve(s).
- Treatment of acute rheumatic fever includes antibiotics to treat the strep infection and additional medications to ease the inflammation of the heart and other symptoms.
- Usually aspirin is given in large doses until the joint inflammation goes away; rarely steroids are needed.
- Once the acute illness has gone away, patients need to take penicillin, or an equivalent antibiotic, for many years to prevent recurrences.
- This is a very important treatment because the risk of heart valve damage increases if rheumatic fever recurs.
- If the leak is severe enough to strain and enlarge the heart, surgery may be needed to eliminate the leak. This surgery may involve repair of the damaged valve. Sometimes the valve is too badly damaged to repair, in which case it must be replaced by an artificial valve.