Cardiology

Acute rheumatism

Acute rheumatism is a complication of nasal infection. This is a disease of connective tissue, which is characterized by a primary lesion of the heart. The symptoms are varied, since this disease affects different organs. Acute rheumatism may be accompanied by inflammation of the joints (arthritis), disease of the central nervous system (chorea), inflammation of heart membrane (carditis, pericarditis). Increasingly acute rheumatism affects children 6-15 years old, adults rarely get sick.

Symptoms

  • Fever.
  • Subcutaneous nodules.
  • Rash.
  • Arthritis: joint pain, swelling and redness of the joints.
  • Chorea: involuntary movements, grimaces.
  • Carditis: cardiac failure, cardiac pain.

Causes

Acute rheumatism is caused by group A streptococci, although why this happens is unknown. A weak immune system, poor working and living conditions, poor personal hygiene, poor nutrition – the factors of disease development. Therefore, this disease is common in underdeveloped countries. Back in the XX century, doctors have noticed the connection between sore throat and rheumatic heart – people with a history of tonsillitis, scarlet fever, were ill with rheumatism.

Treatment

An indispensable condition for the successful treatment of acute rheumatic fever – observance of bed rest. Treatments can be very diverse. For the treatment of joint pain, anti-inflammatory and analgesic medications are prescribed. Modern drugs reduce pain and it does not irritate the stomach lining. If the patient suffers from acute carditis, the inflammation is reduced with salicylic drugs. In heart failure glucocorticoids are prescribed. Sometimes there are a rheumatic brain disease and chorea. There are no specific medicines for the treatment of this disease. Antibiotics (penicillin) are injected against streptococcal infection. It is recommended to limit the use of salt and fluid.

The best means of prevention of acute rheumatism – the correct treatment of streptococcal infections. Regular hardening and gymnastics help to avoid rheumatism.

Acute rheumatism can begin after a previous nasopharynx infection. With a sharp increase in body temperature and joint pains you should seek medical attention.

In adults, the diagnosis of acute rheumatism is quite difficult, as they are affected by this disease extremely rare, in addition, its flow is not typical. The disease is detected by the totality of symptoms, called Jones criteria. There are only 10 criteria.

Jones criteria

Acute rheumatism is established by the totality of symptoms. The diagnosis is the presence of one main and two minor criteria.

Main criteria:

  • Carditis.
  • Acute inflammation of the large joints (arthritis).
  • Nodules in the subcutaneous tissue.
  • Chorea.
  • Rash.

Minor criteria:

  • Fever.
  • Joint pain.
  • High erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR).
  • A history of streptococcal infection.
  • A family history of rheumatism; heart valve defect.

Course of the disease

After 2-3 weeks after streptococcal infection symptoms of rheumatism – fever and pain in the joints. Commonly joints are affected. Fever and joint pain disappear after treatment of about 14 days. Chorea may appear only after 6 months. The disease develops gradually and lasts 3-8 months. It’s is characterized by grimacing, twitching neck muscles, involuntary movements of the limbs, speech impairment. With active rheumatoid arthritis, the heart can be damaged.