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The features of rheumatic fever and its treatment

Treatment Treatment aims to destroy the bacteria, relieve symptoms, control inflammation, and prevent recurrences of RF. Antibiotics, such as penicillinmay be given to destroy any remaining strep bacteria in the body. Further antibiotics may be prescribed, to prevent recurrence. This may continue for 5-10 years depending on the age of the person and whether or not the heart is affected. Long-term, and even lifelong, preventive antibiotics may be necessary to prevent recurring inflammation of the heart.

It is important to remove all traces of streptococcal bacteria, as any remaining bacteria can lead to repeated occurrences of RF and a significantly higher risk of heart damage, which can become permanent. Naproxen, for example, may help to reduce pain, inflammation, and fever.

Rheumatic fever: What you need to know

Prednisone may be given if the patient does not respond to first-line anti-inflammatory medications, or if there is inflammation of the heart. This is not usually recommended for children aged under 16 years because of the risk of developing Reye's syndrome, which can cause liver and brain damage, and even death, but an exception is usually made in cases of RA because the benefits are greater than the risks.

These can treat severe chorea symptoms. Examples include valproic acid Depakene or Stavzorcarbamazepine Carbatrol or Equetrohaloperidol Haldol and risperidone Risperdal. Anyone who has RF as a child will need to inform their doctor as they get older because heart damage can appear many years later.

Diagnosis The doctor will ask about the patient's symptoms and recent medical history. They will pay particular attention to any recent illness along with the following: An electrical tracing of the heart to detect abnormal heart rhythms suggesting inflammation Echocardiography: An ultrasound of the heart to look for inflammation or heart valve damage Blood tests Additional tests can detect specific strep infections.

Complications Rheumatic fever can cause heart disease in children.

Rheumatic Fever Causes

Symptoms of RF, and specifically inflammation, may persist for weeks, months, or longer, causing long-term problems. Rheumatic heart disease RHD is the most common and most serious complication. Globally, RHD is estimated to affect more than 15 million people per year and cause more than 230,000 deaths.

The inflammation causes permanent damage to the heart, most commonly the mitral valve, the valve between the upper and lower chambers of the left side of the heart.

This can lead to: The valve narrows, causing a drop in blood flow Valvular regurgitation: Blood flows in the wrong direction because of a leak Heart muscle damage: Inflammation weakens the heart muscle so that the heart cannot pump properly Other conditions that may develop if there is damage to heart tissue, the mitral valve, or other heart valves include: This is a serious condition in which the heart is not pumping blood throughout the body efficiently.

This can affect the left side, the right side, or both sides of the heart. An abnormal heart rhythm where the upper chambers of the heart the atria do not coordinate with the lower part of the heart the ventricles.

This causes the heart muscle to contract irregularly, excessively fast, or both making its pumping ability inefficient. This abnormal rhythm can also lead to a stroke. RF is now rare in developed countries, but it remains a risk elsewhere. Researchers continue to seek effective ways to prevent RF and its complications.

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Causes The main cause of RF is Group A streptococcus GASa bacteria that can cause infections such as Strep throat with or without scarlet fever and skin infections like impetigoand cellulitis. Genetic factors may increase the risk. The chance of having RF appears to be higher if another family member has had it.

  • Genetic factors may increase the risk;
  • Test their throat and sometimes blood for evidence of strep bacteria;
  • The strep bacterium contains a protein similar to one found in certain tissues of the body;
  • The link between strep infection and rheumatic fever isn't clear, but it appears that the bacterium tricks the immune system;
  • An ultrasound of the heart to look for inflammation or heart valve damage Blood tests Additional tests can detect specific strep infections.

The exact link between group A strep infection and RF remains unclear, but scientists believe that it is not the bacteria itself that causes the disease, but rather the immune system's faulty reaction to it. Strep bacteria have a protein that resembles one found in some body tissues. Immune system cells that would usually target the bacteria may start attacking the body's own tissues instead, as if they are toxins or infectious agents. In RF, the tissues that they attack are those of the heart, joints, central nervous system CNS and skin.

These tissues react by becoming inflamed.

Rheumatic Fever

If a patient with Strep bacteria takes a complete course of antibiotic treatment, the chances of RF developing are very low. Outlook In 8 out of 10 cases, the signs and symptoms of RF resolve within 12 weeks.

Between 30 and 45 percent of people with RF will develop heart problems. Recurrences of rheumatic fever often occur within 5 years. In the past, RF was a major cause of mortality, but now this is rare in industrialized countries.

However, RF is fatal in 1. Risk factors Environmental factors, such as overcrowding, poor sanitation, and poor access to healthcare increase the risk of developing RF. Leaving strep throat or scarlet fever untreated or partially treated by not finishing a complete course of antibiotics increases the risk of RF significantly.