Rheumatic Fever


Have you experienced any long-term effects from rheumatic fever? Submit Your Comment

Comment from: Leighski, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: October 25

I was diagnosed with a manifestation of rheumatic fever at age 38. I was lucky there was no heart damage. I was on antibiotics for 2.5 yrs. I am now 54 years old and have ongoing swelling in all my joints. Every 2 months a body part will swell and become inflamed for weeks 14 years later and my ASO titer is almost 800. I would like to know if anybody else is dealing with this horrible, painful disease.

Comment from: Ceramicgal72 , 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: October 25

I had rheumatic fever at the age of 8. I was at home in bed for 6 months and had a home teacher. I was on penicillin pills and shots. My parents did not let me walk around, and carried me. I had a heart murmur which l outgrew and was not allowed to have gym in high school. I have osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. I am 72 years old. I try and stay away from persons with strep.

Comment from: David M, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: July 09

I had rheumatic fever (RF) and Sydenham chorea in 1968 aged three and a half. I had my aortic valve replaced in 1980 and again in 1986. I also had an ascending aortic aneurysm repair in 1997. I have recently had cardiac ablation and a pacemaker fitted. I feel that the long term consequences of RF have traditionally been treated by cardiologists. I feel that a more holistic approach should be taken as the condition effects the joints, nervous system as well as the heart.

Comment from: Janem, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: March 31

At 11 years old, I contracted strep throat that was not diagnosed. Then it was scarlet fever, then rheumatic fever, then Sydenham‘s chorea. I was out of school for a year. I have rheumatic heart disease with 2 bad valves. My joints are causing me no end of trouble. I have had 4 surgeries and receive shots in my back. It was a horrible time in my life all for the want of one doctor’s appointment. I wish there was some research to connect my childhood illnesses to the joint problems I have.

Comment from: Roger L, 0-2 Male (Caregiver) Published: August 21

I was given shots in my legs for rheumatic fever till they ran out of places to put them, when I was ten years old. Then I got a shot a month till I was 20 in the buttocks, now as I am 59 I suffer from leg pain so bad it's crippling. I have been to 50 doctors and they don't know what the matter is with me.

Comment from: Chichancie, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: July 20

When I was 4 years old (1952) I became very sick and near to death. I can't remember the diagnosis but my mother did call in the doctor. In 1965 I passed out while at school and after two weeks in the hospital I was sent home with the diagnosis of rheumatic fever. My health has always been a challenge but I persevered living a more than abundant life until 1994 when I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Now I am 72 and fibromyalgia symptoms are debilitating.

Comment from: Maggie M, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: April 22

I had scarlet fever then rheumatic fever age at 4 (1949), in N Ireland, with RHD (rheumatic heart disease). Penicillin was not generally available. I was not hospitalized. Everything I had touched was burned and I was sent to the country for 6 months to recuperate. I got daily penicillin a year or 2 later. I was a “sickly” child with no exercise allowed. Drug was stopped when we moved to Canada and had no doctor. I have had sporadic spasms in my leg always, which my mother called rheumatic pains. At 70 I was diagnosed with AVS (aortic valve stenosis), one of the causes of rheumatic fever.

Comment from: RF Fighter, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: February 19

I had rheumatic fever (RF) when around 7 years old. I couldn't walk and it hurt to breathe, especially when I lay down. I was diagnosed with a heart murmur. I took antibiotics for 10 years, and digoxin for 3 years. At 30 years of age my hands swelled, with pain. At 46 years old, I had open heart surgery to replace mitral valve, heart ablation for arrhythmias. Seven months later I was diagnosed with CHF (congestive heart failure) and COPD, then sudden cardiac death twice, coma, and was on life support for 1 week. I got a defibrillator and another ablation. I am 58 year old, and I wake up multiple times a night with bad pain in muscles of my legs when it's cold.

Comment from: Gramma69, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: November 26

I am 69 years old. At age 3 I was diagnosed with rheumatic fever (RF). I was hospitalized for 6 weeks and spent a year in bed. I wasn't allowed to do anything, especially get overexcited or cry. I was on penicillin till I was 12 and then the heart murmur went away. I was also given iron. I have had achy legs forever. I get extremely overheated easily, and have sleep apnea, controlled blood pressure, hypokalemia, etc. Waiting for the day the mitral valve stops working. My mom always told me my heart swelled really bad. Good luck to all.


Just about any painful sore throat is caused by strep. See Answer
Comment from: DBR, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: November 12

I had rheumatic fever at the age of 6 in about 1962. I remember on-and-off pain in one knee, and periodic fever. I don't remember feeling very bad. I was hospitalized for a week (and traumatized for life because of it) and then on penicillin for a number of years afterward. I did have a heart murmur for a time after that but have since had no health problems or restrictions on my activities. I missed no school, either - just my luck - because it occurred in the summer between kindergarten and grade 1.

Comment from: Kristine , 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: November 05

I was 2, my mom found my thumb swollen, and it took doctors a while to diagnose rheumatic fever (RF). My mom quit her job to take care of me. I too had to take penicillin when I was little and for the dentist, now I am told I can't and I'm not sure about that part. I have osteoarthritis now and auto-immune disease, and I wonder if it's a cause of the RF. I wish every good health.

Comment from: Tamara, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: September 10

I had rheumatic fever (RF) at age 6, now at 63 and (thanks to Google) I'm trying to see if there isn't some connection between the RF and the autoimmune problems I've had ever since. I took penicillin until I graduated from high school. My doctors have always commented on my elevated white cell counts. I have psoriatic arthritis and a couple of years ago I was given a pneumonia vaccine which resulted in Guillain-Barre syndrome! IVIG treatments, rehabilitation and physical therapy got me walking again, but I'm a mess.

Comment from: deano, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: July 23

I had rheumatic fever when I was 5 years old, took penicillin daily for about 8 years after that. I have never been diagnosed with a heart murmur, but I have lived with joint and muscle pain ever since which has gotten worse as the years have gone on. Doctors claim my blood tests say I'm perfectly healthy, but I know otherwise. Living with widespread pain and inflammation makes one lose hope over time.

Comment from: Happy heart23, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: July 12

I had strep throat as a kid often and took all the antibiotics each time. Never knew I had rheumatic fever (RF). In 2014 I got very sick and ended up having my aortic and mitral heart valves replaced with mechanical ones. The cardiologist said he can tell by the way they are damaged it was caused by RF. It was shocking. Glad to be alive! I had them replaced at age 43.

Comment from: Joint/knee pain, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: February 05

I have been wanting to read stories of those with adult rheumatic fever and joint pain and how long the pain lasted. I have rheumatic fever, began at age 39, and now at age 41, my knee pain has not gotten better; swollen soft tissue muscle around the knees mostly. It is hard to move around, bend and walk. Hoping to heal some day.

Comment from: Sue, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: November 20

I had rheumatic fever at the age of 5. I was hospitalized and bedridden for a year. I have never been told I have a heart murmur or any kind of heart problems, but recently I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. I wonder if this could possibly be due to the long-term effects from rheumatic fever. I am 67 years old.

Comment from: Survivor , 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: June 15

I was 5 when I got rheumatic fever (RF). I was hospitalized for a month or so and then remained in a hospital bed at home. I had to get a blood transfusion. I missed kindergarten. I lived on pills for years which destroyed my teeth. I developed high blood pressure, tachycardia and poor vision in my teens. I was so sick that the doctors didn't expect me to make it. I take medicines for my heart and blood pressure. This is a dangerous disease as far as I'm concerned. I've known people that had permanent twitches from RF. My heart goes out to people that got this in the 50s and earlier like myself. Due to my mother's love and diligence at my bedside, I lived.

Comment from: Bjeans, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: May 23

I had rheumatic fever at approximately age 4. Born in 1943, my Mom put me right to bed, and I ended up having a light case. Doctors had me on penicillin until I was about 8 or 10. I did experience leg pains in my teens and doctors could hear a murmur till about age 30, then not again till recently. I'm now age 74 and wondering if it's making me tired and affecting my blood pressure.

Comment from: Survived, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: May 17

I was diagnosed with rheumatic fever at the age of four. We were living in Canada at the time and therefore have no idea why I wasn't taken to a doctor. I am currently 54. I was hospitalized for four weeks, and an outpatient for 14 years. During that time, I had taken over 10,000 pills. I have to say, they did a great job at the hospital for sick kids. I as well had to learn how to walk again. I had to endure corrective eye glasses for a year. There was no sports for me until I was eleven. I guess we get robbed of our childhood. Today, there are no signs of any murmurs. Blood pressure is fine. My overall health is good. I still hope it won't show up in my later years.


Sore Throat or Strep Throat? How to Tell the Difference See Slideshow
Comment from: Aushoward, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: March 01

I'm 40 years old. I had rheumatic fever (while living in Mexico) when I was 9, verified with a blood test. I couldn't walk because it was extremely painful one night, and got penicillin shots 3 days in a row, then they began being spaced to every other day, once a week, twice a month and finally once a month. The only symptom I had before the excruciating pain was a sore throat. I wasn't allowed to do sports for several years. When I was 27, I got it again (while living in Mexico). I had a sore throat, no fever, but again extremely painful joints. I got a blood test that confirmed the diagnosis and was given one penicillin shot and oral penicillin for a month. At age 36, with an extremely sore throat, acute joint pain (again, no fever), and fatigue, I was sure I had it again (living in California) but the doctor didn't want to test my blood and just gave me steroids and a Z-Pak. I got better but never went back to this doctor. I've had chest pains for a second long, since I was 17 (less frequent now), and my heart rate skyrockets very easily during exercise. During the cold season, my joints act up and they hurt a lot when I get a cold.

Comment from: Charlotte, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: February 06

I had rheumatic fever when I was 4 or 5 years old. I had to learn how to walk all over again. I never paid any attention to everything my rheumatic fever caused. In 2014 I had open heart for valve (mitral) replacement. My body rejected the first valve and shut down. Within 24 hours I underwent open heart again for mechanical valve. Since then I have arthritic fibrosis, pulmonary fibrosis and COPD. Several other things (minor) have been happening. The most recent is my pituitary and adrenal glands. They aren't functioning properly. Since then my mitral valve has started leaking along with my aortic valve. I just wait for the next shoe to drop.

Comment from: Lrosenfield , 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: December 20

I was hospitalized for almost 6 months when I was 4, with rheumatic fever (RF). My mom had just come back from the doctor with me to check on a sore throat and he missed the strep. Within hours after coming back from the doctor my mom could hear my heart rasping. My legs were affected because of the bedrest and I had to relearn how to walk. I have never really felt normal. I've always had an unusually low tolerance to pain, and was just mercilessly teased as a kid as a cry baby. Playing volleyball for instance or dodge ball was excruciating. I just learned to live with it. But around age 40 I started reacting to weather changes, especially rain, high hot humidity and cold. I had all over body pain and was dismissed with a fibromyalgia diagnosis. When I was 50 I had my first left ventricle mini heart attack. The ultrasound showed scarring of the left ventricle. I am now 56 and I was recently hospitalized for sudden paralysis in my legs and slow movement, like seizures, that came while in the hospital stay. They left me exhausted and sometimes I couldn't remember having had them at all. Not surprisingly about a month after the paralysis I came down with a very bad case of strep throat. We are closely monitoring me for any signs of an RF relapse and I am on amoxicillin. I was told by my dad, who was a pharmacist, over and over again to stay on penicillin and low dose aspirin for my entire life. But when I moved to a warm climate a doctor there felt I no longer needed either. He was tragically wrong, my heart goes out to any and all who have had this disease, it is not something to take lightly and you really should make sure you take antibiotics before a dental appointment regardless of what they say nowadays and have your teeth and gums check yearly. There is a connection. The other mistake I made was allowing the doctors to remove my tonsils when I was 40. They are your first line of defense against strep going to your heart. All this coincides with moving back to the east coast and the frigid temperatures. Always get second opinions. Ask questions and don't accept answers that just don't seem to ring true for you. It's your body. Peace to you and yours.

Comment from: Rosanna, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: June 16

I was diagnosed with rheumatic fever (RF) at age 6 after being taken to several doctors and specialists. I was at the stages of three heart murmurs, joint pains all over body, weight loss, and coughing up clotty blood. I was put on penicillin until age 18 and was told I probably wouldn't have children. I have narrow blood vessels on one side of my brain which causes me to have mini strokes. I check up with a neurologist every year and am on low dose aspirin for the rest of my life. The doctors suspect that the RF and penicillin dosage/prolonged use has to do with my stroke history. I did have two children but had preeclampsia which caused very premature births, kids are healthy and good.

Comment from: tesla60ac, 75 or over Male (Patient) Published: September 20

I had rheumatic fever (RF) at age 15 in 1955 after soaking in rain. I had late afternoon chills followed by strep throat. Two days later I was in emergency, and couldn't walk, with hips and thigh muscles mainly affected. I spent three weeks in hospital with some form of steroid shot every 4 hours, full three weeks, and then 3 weeks in bed at home. Steroids and vitamin regiment caused a 3 inch growth spurt within several months. All my life I have had some for of hip pain and general systemic pain especially prior and during a cold rain. Just recently I have had the same problems with hot humid weather. Walking in wet grass will cause the same systems to affect me. I wonder if this is normal for after effects of RF in later life.

Comment from: Bless, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: January 22

I was hospitalized at the age of 4 with the rheumatic fever. I was treated but do not know with what, only that my hair was shaved. Sometimes I get a flutter and wonder if that could be caused by my earlier illness.

Comment from: Gilbert , 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: September 13

I had rheumatic fever at the age of 11. I am now 70 recently diagnosed with atrial fibrillation.

Comment from: bonamar, 75 or over Female (Patient) Published: June 14

My rheumatic fever (RF) was never diagnosed, not enough symptoms. Later I had secondary thrombosis after taking the early birth control pill for about 3 months. I was then told I had RF and all my veins were varicose.

Comment from: Kim, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: April 04

When I was 11 years old, I had strep throat that was not properly treated. I was terribly sick for the entire summer. Today I was told by my doctor that I had a murmur and she is ordering an echocardiogram. I guess I had rheumatic fever. We'll see what happens and what the damage is.

Comment from: shorty, 45-54 Female (Caregiver) Published: December 06

I'm 52 years old, and I had rheumatic fever when I was 5 years old. My mother abused me physically and mentally, and I was paralyzed from the neck down for two months. I lay in bed not knowing if I was going to be alive the next day. If it weren't for my father I would not be alive today!

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