Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Acute Rheumatic Fever Underlying Cause

Rheumatic fever is caused by an infection with Streptococcal bacteria, which are responsible for strep throat infections. For some reason, after the Streptococcal infection, the immune system mistakenly attacks normal tissue. Inflammation occurs in multiple areas of the body, including the joints, heart, skin, and central nervous system.

Some cases of rheumatic fever can lead to rheumatic heart disease. In this case, damage to the heart leads to mitral regurgitation, mitral stenosis, cardiac arrhythmias, pericarditis, myocarditis, or congestive heart failure. A similar process can occur in the kidneys, which may lead to kidney disease or kidney failure.

Last Updated: Nov 10, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Acute Rheumatic Fever References
  1. Carapetis JR, McDonald M, Wilson NJ. Acute rheumatic fever. Lancet. 2005 Jul 9-15;366(9480):155-68. [16005340]
  2. Cilliers AM, Manyemba J, Saloojee H. Anti-inflammatory treatment for carditis in acute rheumatic fever. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2003;(2):CD003176. [12804454]
  3. Lennon D. Acute rheumatic fever in children: recognition and treatment. Paediatr Drugs. 2004;6(6):363-73. [15612837]
  4. Manyemba J, Mayosi BM. Penicillin for secondary prevention of rheumatic fever. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2002;(3):CD002227. [12137650]
  5. Roodpeyma S, Kamali Z, Zare R. Rheumatic fever: the relationship between clinical manifestations and laboratory tests. J Paediatr Child Health. 2005 Mar;41(3):97-100. [15790318]
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