What are the possible complications of acute rheumatic fever (ARF)?

Updated: Dec 10, 2020
  • Author: Robert J Meador, Jr, MD; Chief Editor: Herbert S Diamond, MD  more...
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Answer

See the list below:

  • Acute episodes are self-limited, with an average duration of 3 months for untreated attacks. Recurrence tends to occur within the first few years of the attack.

  • The outcome of carditis is likely to be more severe if patients have pre-existing heart disease. Carditis resolves without sequelae in 65-75% of patients.

  • Severe cardiac failure, total disability, and death may occur years after the acute attack.

  • The risk of developing a new episode is highest during the 5 years following an acute attack. This justifies prophylaxis for all patients for at least 5 years or until the patient reaches age 18 years.


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