Rheumatic Fever

In the acute stage, joint pains and fever should be controlled by aspirin or possibly a corticosteroid, tailored according to need (but see Reye's syndrome, p. 289).

When there is evidence of carditis (cardiac enlargement or pericarditis), complete bed rest is advised and a corticosteroid should be used instead of aspirin since the latter may precipitate cardiac failure. Prednisolone should be given in a dose sufficient to suppress clinical and laboratory (ESR, plasma viscosity, C-reactive protein) signs of inflammation; 10-15 mg/d is usually adequate in adults, and specific therapy for cardiac failure may also be necessary.

Neither aspirin nor adrenal steroid prevents the development of late cardiac complications.

A 10-day course of benzylpenicillin should be given to kill any streptococci (for prophylaxis see p. 239).

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Your heart pumps blood throughout your body using a network of tubing called arteries and capillaries which return the blood back to your heart via your veins. Blood pressure is the force of the blood pushing against the walls of your arteries as your heart beats.Learn more...

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