Objectives: The aim of the study is to evaluate the compliance rate to secondary prophylaxis and the presence of rheumatic heart disease (RHD) in a cohort of Italian patients with acute rheumatic fever (ARF).
Methods: This is a multicentre retrospective study. The patients were divided into two groups by the presence or absence at last follow-up of RHD. Clinical features, ARF recurrences and the rate of compliance to secondary prophylaxis were evaluated.
Results: Two-hundred and ninety patients were enrolled (137 females; 153 males). Carditis at onset was present in 244 patients (84.7%). At the end of follow-up, 173 patients manifested RHD. Adherence to secondary prophylaxis was low in 26% of patients. The presence of RHD at follow-up was associated with the presence of carditis and its severity at onset (p=0.001), but it was not related to secondary prophylaxis adherence (p=NS). No association between prophylaxis adherence and ARF recurrence was found (p=NS) nor between ARF recurrence and RHD at the end of follow-up (p=NS).
Conclusions: Poor adherence to secondary prophylaxis does not seem to be associated with increased risk of RHD in developed countries. Further studies are needed to confirm our data in a larger population.