Can patients who have had their heart damaged by rheumatic fever lead a normal life?
This depends on the extent of damage to the heart. In cases where there is only a mild damage, the patient should be able to lead a normal life with the help of medications. In those with severe valve damage in the heart, open-heart surgery will be required. If the valve is not repairable, then an artificial valve will need to be placed in the heart instead of the affected valve. Such patients would require extra careful monitoring during pregnancy. Even after heart surgery, the patient will need to continue with the preventive penicillin treatment.