This section is from the book "The Home Hand-Book of Domestic Hygiene and Rational Medicine. Volume 2.", by J. H. Kellogg, M.D.. Also available from Amazon: The Home Hand-Book of Domestic Hygiene and Rational Medicine, Volume 2.
Palpitation; pain and uneasiness in the region of the heart; fever; restlessness; feeble pulse; shortness of breath; patient insists on lying on his back; peculiar murmurs heard on listening to the chest.
This disease affects the left side of the heart most frequently, choosing for its principal seat the valves. The result of the inflammation is a production of little warty growths upon the valves, which interfere with their action; but the worst result sometimes occurs subse quently, from the contraction of the parts affected by the inflammation, causing stiffness and pressure, closure of the valves, and thus obstructing the passage of the blood from the heart. Any one or all of the four valves of the heart may be affected. The usual results of valvular disease of the heart are, enlargement, which is finally followed by dilatation; pulmonary congestion, which results from an obstruction of the free passage of blood from the lungs; congestion of the stomach, liver, spleen, and all internal organs including the brain, from the obstruction of the venous circulation; general structural and functional derangement of all the internal organs; and finally, general dropsy, showing itself first in the feet and ankles, gradually extending to the body, involving the abdominal cavities, chest, and upper extremities, and ultimately resulting in death. One of the immediate dangers in this affection is embolism, which consists in the obstruction of the artery with a small plug, which is formed in the heart by the adhesion to the excrescences upon the inflamed valves of portions of the fibrine of the blood, which are after a time dissolved and swept along with the blood current until they reach arteries of so small a size that they are stopped, and plugging the vessel, cut off the supply of blood from the part to which it is distributed. When this takes place in the brain, where it is most likely to occur, symptoms of paralysis appear, as loss of speech or memory of words, etc.
This disease, as stated with reference to pericarditis, rarely occurs by itself. It is most often due to rheumatism. It may also occur in consequence of the inflammation of the heart-case, pneumonia, pleurisy, Bright's disease, scarlet fever, and other eruptive fevers.
The treatment of this affection must be the same as that recommended for pericarditis, together with the treatment necessitated by the disease of which it is the result, or with which it is connected, and that described for valvular disease of the heart.