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Rheumatic fever and heart damage - help with novel

Hello - I wonder if someone can help. I am a writer and completing another novel. One main character suffered rheumatic fever as a teen in 1940s. First question is: how would a doctor determine that there was heart/valve damage?

Second questions: this character is told NOT to get pregnant but does. What happens if she does have issues delivering the child. If heart failure, can they revive her? The delivery takes place in 1953.

Thank you for any answers and/or referring me to a good source.


  1. Hi. That is neat that you are writing a book. And that you are including a character with this health condition. I have always found it fun researching such things as this. I did a little digging for you and did find some information you may find helpful. If you Google "difficult delivery, the 1950s," you will find several articles about how Rheumatic Fever was diagnosed in the 1940s and 50s. Back then, it was mainly diagnosed by clinical manifestations. You can learn what these are by looking up "Dr. T. Duckett Jones, diagnosis." From what I have read, it does not appear there was testing done, and the echocardiogram ( used today to diagnose heart valve disorders wasn't used clinically until the 1970s. Likewise, a similar web search using terms like"1950s, heart failure, pregnancy" produces many articles you may find helpful. Does this help? Or were you looking for other information? John. community moderator

    1. Thank you for the help!

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