Risk factors for heart valve disease

Risk factors for heart valve disease include:

  • Rheumatic heart disease, a common risk factor for valve disease. Rheumatic heart disease develops in some people from one or more episodes of rheumatic fever. Rheumatic fever is a complication of infection caused by group A beta-hemolytic streptococci (strep throat).
  • A birth (congenital) defect that results in structural abnormalities of heart valves.
  • Inflammation of the lining of the heart chambers, often caused by an infection (endocarditis).
  • Certain characteristic body structures that may also be associated with the development of valve problems. People with certain body features (such as being very thin and having long arms, a flat rib cage, and loose joints) may be more likely to have valve disease.

Last Updated: August 25, 2008

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