Objective: This study examined the frequency and age at onset of psychiatric disorders among children with rheumatic fever, Sydenham's chorea, or both and a comparison group.
Method: Twenty children with rheumatic fever, 22 with Sydenham's chorea, and 20 comparison children were assessed by means of a semistructured interview and rating scales for tic disorders and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Results: Obsessive-compulsive symptoms were more frequent in both the Sydenham's chorea and rheumatic fever groups than in the comparison group. The Sydenham's chorea group had a higher frequency of major depressive disorder, tic disorders, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) than both the comparison and rheumatic fever groups. ADHD symptoms were associated with a higher risk of developing Sydenham's chorea.
Conclusions: Both the rheumatic fever and Sydenham's chorea groups were associated with a higher risk of developing neuropsychiatric disorders than the comparison group. ADHD appears to be a risk factor for Sydenham's chorea in children with rheumatic fever.