Follow-up of rheumatic carditis treated with steroids
Cardiology in the Young,  Clinical Article

Herdy GVH et al. – Many critically ill patients who complied with secondary prophylaxis were left with minor injuries, whereas those who neglected it or abandoned it had serious sequelae. The rate of abandonment and loss to follow–up was very high. Many cases (49%) were re–hospitalised because of carditis recurrence.

Methods
  • This is a retrospective analysis of the outcome of 242 patients with severe rheumatic carditis after discharge from two public hospitals in Niteroi, Brazil.
  • The authors followed up 118 patients for 4 years or more, with an average of 7.7 years.
  • They were treated with antibiotics to accomplish bacterial eradication and either intravenous methylprednisolone – 40 cases – or oral prednisone – 78 patients – to treat carditis.
  • They were followed up in outpatient clinic.

Results
  • Cardiac failure was categorised as classes III and IV according to the New York Heart Association classification.
  • In the intravenous corticosteroid group, 21 cases (52.5%) had isolated mitral valve regurgitation, 12 (30%) had mitral plus aortic involvement, and seven (17.5%) had aortic lesion only. In the oral prednisone group, 45 (58%) had mitral valve regurgitation only, 27 (34%) had mitral plus aortic involvement, and six (8%) had aortic lesion only.
  • A total of 28 children were in their first disease attack, of whom 19 (68%) had a rupture of chordae tendineae.
  • A total of 58 patients (49%) sustained recurrence of carditis because of neglected secondary prophylaxis.
  • In all, 19 cases (16%) underwent cardiac surgery – valve replacement or valvuloplasty.
  • In 33% of the cases, the outcome was favourable – asymptomatic at follow–up.
  • The overall mortality rate was 6.8%.

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