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FALSE AND TRUE ACUTE RHEUMATIC FEVER: A Lebanese Experience



FALSE AND TRUE ACUTE RHEUMATIC FEVER: A Lebanese Experience



Le Journal Medical Libanais. Lebanese Medical Journal 63(4): 198-202



The main aim of this study is to evaluate the significance of several clinical and laboratory findings presented by a large number of pediatric patients who were suspected to have acute rheumatic fever (ARF) by physicians who ordered echocardiogram for confirmation and for avoiding overuse of unnecessary antibiotics. These suspecting reasons include elevated ASO titers and recurrent tonsillitis. Another aim is to stress the role of Doppler echocardiogram in confirming the diagnosis of ARF by detecting rheumatic heart disease (RHD) in suspected cases. 401 patients were registered in the National Registry of the Pediatric and Congenital Heart Disease (RNCPC) from April 1, 2002 until the end of March 2013 as suspected cases of ARF. The clinical reasons that brought suspicion are discussed and evaluated in accordance to modified Jones criteria. The patients are distributed into two groups: 1) confirmed ARF and 2) different diagnosis. All patients underwent echocardiogram. Patients came from different geographic areas and were referred by a variety of physicians. 48 patients out of 401 suspected cases turned to have confirmed ARF (12%). In this group, the predominant suspecting reasons are reported as heart murmur in 29/48 (60.4%), arthritis in 28/48 (58.3%), arthralgia with reduced physical activity in 15/48 (31%) and chorea in 5/48 (10%). In the different diagnosis group with a high ASO titer 174/353 (49.3%), isolated arthralgia 91/353 (25.8%) and combined elevated ASO with arthralgia in 44/353 (12.5%) were the predominant suspecting reasons. Doppler echocardiography could detect 38/48 cases of active carditis and subclinical carditis (SCC). Heart murmur, arthritis, arthralgia with reduced physical activity and chorea are the main clinical reasons that lead to suspicion in the ARF group. High ASO titers, arthralgia, and combination of high ASO titers with arthralgia are the main presenting symptoms in the group with a different diagnosis. We concluded that elevated ASO titer and normal ESR with arthralgia not reducing physical activity can exclude ARF. Doppler echocardiography is found to be a gold standard key to confirm acute rheumatic heart disease and ARF.

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Accession: 057851986

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PMID: 26821402


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