Rheumatic Fever – Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment

Rheumatic Fever – Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment

Rheumatic Fever - Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment

By Dr Sanjeev KumarPediatrics

Rheumatic fever is a complication that is associated with strep throat. If it is not treated, it is capable of causing stroke, permanent heart damage or even death.

This condition is caused by a type of bacteria known as streptococcus, which causes strep throat. It is also capable of causing scarlet fever which is an inflammatory disorder. Rheumatic fever is a disorder where the immune system attacks tissues in the body after the bacteria causes the strep throat infection. This results in widespread inflammation all over the body.


There are a large number of symptoms associated with rheumatic fever which can appear in two to four weeks after a person has been infected. Some common symptoms include:

1. Chest Pain

2. Lethargy or fatigue

3. Stomach Pain

4. Nosebleeds

5. Red and Swollen Joints

6. Small, painless bumps or nodules under the skin

7. Fever

8. Vomiting

9. Shortness of breath

10. Notable decrease in attention span

11. Flat, ragged, slightly raised rash


The main objective of treatment of rheumatic fever is the removal of the bacteria which causes strep throat. It also aids in controlling the symptoms. Some of the treatments are listed below:

  1. Antibiotics: Long term prescriptions would be made by the doctor so that the recurring problems are prevented.
  2. Anti-Inflammatory Treatment: These treatments include pain medication like naproxen or aspirin. Corticosteroid might also be prescribed additionally.
  3. Anticonvulsant Medications: In cases problems in involuntary movements arise, Anticonvulsant Medications can come to aid.
  4. Rest: Adequate best rest is advised till major symptoms like inflammation and pain have ceased. If the fever has resulted in heart problems, strict bed rest for periods ranging from few weeks to months, is recommended.