Background: To investigate the findings and prognosis of rheumatic fever (RF) patients seen in the past 20 years and to compare the last two decades.
Methods: The medical records of all RF patients admitted to Gazi University Department of Pediatric Cardiology during 1982-2002 were reviewed. The decade from 1.1.1982 to 31.12.1991 was designated as 1980s and the following decade as the 1990s.
Results: Among the 609 RF cases, there was no difference between the two decades regarding mean age, male/female ratio, most of the minor manifestations and findings of the preceding streptococcal infection. As the rate of carditis declined in 1990s, rates of arthritis and chorea increased. Severity of carditis and admissions with reactivation decreased during 1990s. The two decades did not differ regarding mean age, gender ratio, pericarditis rate, number and type of valvular involvement and sequel of carditis cases. Severity of carditis and number of valvular involvement influenced the first-year prognosis. Almost one-third of the arthritis cases had monoarthritis in both decades. Atypical cases with small-joint involvement were detected number of which increased during the 1990s.
Conclusions: The two decades do not seem to differ regarding most of the manifestations of RF. More emphasis should be given to atypical cases such as small-joint involvement and monoarthritis and silent carditis.