What Is Rheumatic Fever?

Posted: Mar 27, 2017 1:59 PM

According to U.S. News, preventable medical errors are responsible for more than 200,000 deaths annually. Life-threatening mistakes can occur at any stage of care – from the initial diagnosis to surgery and prescription pickups.



Delayed diagnoses are one of the most common medical errors, and they can have devastating consequences. If a doctor fails to diagnose a condition correctly or in a timely manner, the patient might die or suffer a permanent disability that could have been prevented.


Unfortunately, misdiagnoses are alarmingly common in the United States. According to CBS News, healthcare providers misdiagnose 12 million Americans in outpatient care every year. 


Rheumatic fever is one condition that is often diagnosed late when doctors are not meticulous during patient evaluations. Rheumatic fever is a serious illness that can develop as a complication of strep throat. According to the Mayo Clinic, it is common in children between the ages 5 and 15; however, both young children and adults can develop it.


If your doctor failed to diagnose your condition and this caused your health to worsen, you may have grounds for a medical malpractice claim. Your Jackson medical malpractice lawyer from the Law Office of Randolph C. Wood, PLLC can evaluate your case to determine if you may be entitled to compensation for healthcare bills, lost income, and other damages. Call 601-709-3584 to schedule a consultation.


What Are the Symptoms of Rheumatic Fever?


Rheumatic fever typically develops two to four weeks after the onset of strep throat. It is an inflammatory disease that affects the heart, joints, and central nervous system. Its symptoms can change over the course of the disease.


Common symptoms of rheumatic fever include:


  • Fever;
  • Tender joints that are red, hot, or swollen;
  • Small bumps beneath this skin;
  • Fatigue;
  • Heart murmur;
  • Chest pain;
  • Uncontrollable jerking of the limbs; and
  • Emotional outbursts such as crying or laughing at inappropriate times.


What Are the Risk Factors of Rheumatic Fever?


Certain strains of the bacteria that cause strep throat are more likely to lead to rheumatic fever than others. Additional risk factors include unsanitary or crowded environments and family history. For example, some people may carry a gene that makes them more vulnerable to the disease.


What Are the Complications of Rheumatic Fever?


Rheumatic fever is dangerous because without proper diagnosis and treatment, it can have life-threatening complications. In severe cases, the disease can damage the valves of the heart, which may result in serious cardiac issues later in life or even heart failure.


There is no single test for rheumatic fever, but your doctor can check for inflammation and other signs of the disease, especially if you have had strep throat recently. There are a variety of ways to treat rheumatic fever. Your doctor may prescribe some combination of antibiotics, anticonvulsants, and anti-inflammatories.


If you developed a serious condition that your doctor failed to identify before it caused major complications, you may have grounds for a medical malpractice claim. Call 601-709-3584 to schedule a consultation with Randolph C. Wood, your brain damage attorney in Jackson.