What Is Syphilitic Heart Disease?

Syphilitic Heart Disease

What is Syphilitic Heart Disease?

Syphilis is a bacterial infection usually spread by sexual contact. The disease starts as a painless sore, typically on the genitals, rectum, or mouth. After the initial infection, the syphilis bacteria can remain inactive (dormant) in the body for decades before becoming active again.

Syphilitic heart disease refers to the infection of the heart and related blood vessels by the syphilis bacteria. This complication usually begins as inflammation of the arteries. Complications of syphilitic heart disease include:

  • Narrowing of the blood vessels that supply blood to the heart, which may lead to heart attack
  • Damage to heart valves that may lead to heart failure
  • Aortic aneurysm, if a vessel becomes weak enough

Antibiotic treatment cures the syphilis infection and stops the progression of the damage. But the damage that has already occurred may not be reversed.

How to Get VA Disability Rating?

To establish a service connection for syphilitic heart disease veterans must demonstrate: (1) a current diagnosis of syphilis along with diagnosis of cardiac involvement; (2) an in-service event, injury, or illness; and (3) a medical link between the current diagnosis and in-service event.

How is Syphilitic Heart Disease Rated?

A physician performing a veteran’s exam will take a MET test for any heart condition. A MET test, or exercise test, checks for how much oxygen is being used by the body to perform increasingly strenuous tasks. 1 MET is the amount of oxygen a person uses while at rest.

Rating Symptoms
100% If there is one or more of the following: (1) continuous congestive heart failure; (2) The condition scores 3 METs or less on an MET test and causes shortness of breath, fatigue, chest pain, dizziness, or fainting; or (3) Left ventricular dysfunction with an ejection fraction of less than 30%
60% If there is one or more of the following: (1) Two or more episodes of congestive heart failure in the past year; (2) The condition scores 4 or 5 METs and causes shortness of breath, fatigue, chest pain, dizziness, or fainting; or (3) Left ventricular dysfunction with an ejection fraction between 30 and 50%
30% If there is one or more of the following: (1) The condition scores 6 or 7 METs on a MET test and causes shortness of breath, fatigue, chest pain, dizziness, or fainting; or (2) Evidence (x-ray, electro-cardiogram, or echocardiogram) or hypertrophy or dilation
10% If there is one or more of the following: (1) The condition scores 8, 9, or 10 METs and causes shortness of breath, fatigue, chest pain, dizziness, or fainting; or (2) continuous medication is required

Veterans Help Group have been supporting veterans in getting the benefits they deserve since 1995. If you or a loved one served, and suffer from syphilitic heart disease, we are here to help. Call Veterans Help Group at 855-855-8992 or complete our free veterans benefits case evaluation form.

 

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