People having rheumatic heart disease will have or had a streptococcal infection history. At that moment, a throat culture or blood test is recommended to check the presence of streptococcus bacteria.
The first sign of having rheumatic heart disease is low sound or rub that may be detected during a routine physical exam. The low sound voice is caused by the leakage of blood surrounding the damaged valve. The rub is caused when the heart tissues become inflamed and rub against each other.
When the doctors have obtained the complete medical history and done the physical examination, then they recommend diagnostic tests for the rheumatic heart disease for the patients that are:
- Echocardiogram (echo): This test is carried out to check the state of the heart's chambers and valves through passing the sound waves in the heart.This creates a picture on a screen as an ultrasound transducer passes over the skin covering the heart. It revealed a detailed view of the areas of the damaged heart that are.
- Valve flaps damage
- Blood backflow through a leaky valve
- Accumulation of fluid surrounding the heart
- Enlargement of heart
This technique is most useful to diagnose the exact area of heart valve problems.
- Electrocardiogram (ECG): This test applies to record the strength and timing of the electrical activity of the heart through connecting the small sensors tapped with the skin. It also displays abnormal rhythms (arrhythmias or dysrhythmias) and can sometimes detect heart muscle damage.
- Chest X-ray: This is used to check the size of the heart or deposition of any fluid in the heart or lungs.
- Cardiac MRI: This test is an imaging test to see the detailed pictures of the heart. It gives the most precise look at the heart valves and muscles.