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Acute rheumatic fever: Treatment and prevention

Allan Gibofsky, MD, JD, FACP, FCLM
Section Editors
Robert Sundel, MD
Daniel J Sexton, MD
Deputy Editor
Elizabeth TePas, MD, MS


Acute rheumatic fever (ARF) is a nonsuppurative complication of pharyngeal infection with group A Streptococcus (GAS). Signs and symptoms of ARF develop two to three weeks following pharyngitis and include arthritis, carditis, chorea, subcutaneous nodules, and erythema marginatum [1].

Treatment and secondary prevention of rheumatic fever are reviewed here. Primary prevention (eg, treatment of streptococcal tonsillopharyngitis) and the epidemiology, pathogenesis, clinical manifestations, and diagnosis of ARF are discussed in detail separately. (See "Treatment and prevention of streptococcal tonsillopharyngitis" and "Acute rheumatic fever: Epidemiology and pathogenesis" and "Acute rheumatic fever: Clinical manifestations and diagnosis".)


Treatment of ARF consists of anti-inflammatory therapy, antibiotic therapy, and heart failure management [2,3]. There is no therapy that slows progression of valvular damage in the setting of ARF.

The three major goals of treatment are:

Symptomatic relief of acute disease manifestations


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Literature review current through: Nov 2016. | This topic last updated: Wed Dec 09 00:00:00 GMT+00:00 2015.
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