Silent enemy in acute rheumatic fever: subclinical carditis [Turk Kardiyol Dern Ars]
Turk Kardiyol Dern Ars. 2011; 39(1): 41-46

Silent enemy in acute rheumatic fever: subclinical carditis

Osman Özdemir, Şehribanu Işık, Ayhan Abacı, Şamil Hızlı, Ahmet Zülfikar Akelma, Fatih Mehmet Kışlal, Aydın Çelik, Cem Hasan Razi, Mesut Koçak
Department of Pediatrics, Kecioren Training and Research Hospital, Ankara, Turkey


OBJECTIVES
Routine use of Doppler echocardiography for the initial diagnosis of acute rheumatic fever (ARF) might allow early detection and, hence, prevention of rheumatic recurrences. This study sought to determine the incidence of subclinical carditis in ARF patients.

STUDY DESIGN
The study included 80 patients (64 migratory polyarthritis, 16 rheumatic chorea) who were diagnosed with ARF according to the Jones criteria, 1992 update. Rheumatic carditis was defined as the presence of the following findings on Doppler echocardiography: mitral and aortic regurgitant jets in at least two planes, the length of the jets >1 cm, and peak flow velocities of >2.5 m/sec for both mitral and aortic regurgitations persisting throughout systole and diastole, respectively. The patients diagnosed with subclinical carditis were re-evaluated at 1, 3, 6, and 12 months.

RESULTS
Echocardiography revealed subclinical carditis in 25 patients (31.3%; 13 girls, 12 boys; mean age 11.4±2.5 years) with ARF. Of 64 patients with migratory polyarthritis, 34 (53.1%) had clinical carditis and 17 (26.6%) had subclinical carditis. The incidences of clinical and subclinical carditis among 16 patients with rheumatic chorea were 31.3% (n=5) and 50% (n=8), respectively. Of 20 patients who completed one-year follow-up, persistence of subclinical carditis was observed in 11 cases (55%).

CONCLUSION
Clinicians should be attentive to the presence of cardiac involvement among patients with suspected ARF. Considering the high incidence of subclinical carditis, echocardiographic evidence of carditis should be used as a diagnostic criterion.

Keywords: Echocardiography, Doppler, heart murmurs/ultrasonography, heart valve diseases/diagnosis; myocarditis/etiology; rheumatic fever/diagnosis/therapy; rheumatic heart disease/diagnosis

How to cite this article
Osman Özdemir, Şehribanu Işık, Ayhan Abacı, Şamil Hızlı, Ahmet Zülfikar Akelma, Fatih Mehmet Kışlal, Aydın Çelik, Cem Hasan Razi, Mesut Koçak. Silent enemy in acute rheumatic fever: subclinical carditis. Turk Kardiyol Dern Ars. 2011; 39(1): 41-46

Corresponding Author: Osman Özdemir, Türkiye
Manuscript Language: Turkish
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