Acute Rheumatic Fever in Adults

Anthony L. Barnert, MD; Edwin E. Terry, MD; Robert H. Persellin, MD
JAMA. 1975;232(9):925-928. doi:10.1001/jama.1975.03250090015009.
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Acute rheumatic fever (ARF) in 53 adults was characterized by a severe, febrile migratory polyarthritis involving primarily large joints in the lower extremities, with evidence of an antecedent streptococcal infection. Carditis, present in only eight (15%) of the adults, was mild and transient. The characteristic abnormality in laboratory findings was an erythrocyte sedimentation rate (Westergren) greater than 100 mm/hr. Response to high-dose aspirin therapy was prompt and dramatic in all patients. Mild and evanescent abnormalities of both renal function and hepatic function (not aspirin-mediated) were detected in 51% and 64%, respectively. A common disorder in San Antonio, ARF has distinctive symptoms. It can be readily diagnosed and promptly treated. In the adult, it is almost exclusively a syndrome of events severe but transient in the joints, and mild and transient in the heart, kidneys, and liver.

(JAMA 232:925-928, 1975)


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