Acute rheumatic fever: Carditis is the most common presenting manifestation in South Africa
Acute rheumatic fever (ARF) is still a major health problem in South Africa. In this retrospective, descriptive study, 100 patients with ARF were analysed to establish whether the clinical profile has changed. Carditis was found in 94% of patients and was therefore the most common of the major criteria found at presentation. The two most common early complications were congestive cardiac failure (CCF) in 16% and infective endocarditis (IE) in 5% of patients. Late complications were CCF in 35% with IE contributing to CCF in 10% of patients. A further 15% developed IE. In conclusion, the profile of ARF as described in the literature has changed, with carditis now being the most common manifestation.