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Supplementary Material for: Characteristics of Children with Acute Rheumatic Carditis from a High-Incidence Region: Importance of Unexplained Worsening of Functional Class

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posted on 11.06.2020 by Narang R., Saxena A., Ramakrishnan S., Gupta S.K., Juneja R., Kothari S.S.
Background: Acute rheumatic fever (ARF) and acute rheumatic carditis (ARC) continue to be a major public health problem in developing countries. Objective: To study the characteristics of children with ARC being treated at a tertiary centre. Methods and Results: We studied 126 children (mean age 10.4 ± 2.3 years, range 5–15 years, 60% males) diagnosed with ARC by treating cardiologists. Most had lower socio-economic status. Fifty of 126 (40%) presented with a first episode of ARC. Joint symptoms were present in 29% and fever in 25%. Only 2.4% had subcutaneous nodules and none had erythema marginatum or chorea. Fifty-one percent presented in NYHA class II and 29% in NYHA class III or IV. Tachycardia and heart failure were present in 53% and 21%, respectively. Recent worsening of NYHA class (dyspnoea) was the commonest feature (48%). Laboratory investigations showed raised antistreptolysin O titres (>333 units) in only 36.7% of patients. Raised C-reactive protein (CRP) was present in 70%, while raised erythrocyte sedimentation rate was found in only 37% of patients. On the basis of above findings, the modified Jones criteria (2015) for the diagnosis of ARF were satisfied only in 46% of children. Echocardiography showed mitral valve thickening in 77% and small nodules on the tip of the leaflets in 43% (27 and 8%, respectively for aortic valve). Left ventricular ejection fraction was <50% in only 3 patients. The dominant valve lesion was mitral regurgitation (MR) (present in 95% of patients; severe in 78%, moderate in 15%), while aortic regurgitation was present in 44% (severe in 14%). Conclusions: The criteria are often not satisfied by patients being treated for ARC. Recent unexplained worsening of dyspnoea, young age, significant MR, echocardiographic nodules, and elevated CRP are important indicators.

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