Is there any criterion for the diagnosis of rheumatic heart disease?
The modified Jones criteria (revised in 1992) is universal and recognized guideline to diagnose rheumatic fever. Rheumatic heart disease (RHD) can be diagnosed after it is confirmed that rheumatic fever occurs antecedently.
In addition to the Jones criteria, there are two more criteria. The major diagnostic criteria include carditis, polyarthritis, chorea, subcutaneous nodules, and erythema marginatum, while the minor diagnostic criteria include fever, arthralgia, prolonged PR interval on ECG, elevated acute phase reactants (increased erythrocyte sedimentation rate [ESR]), presence of C-reactive protein, and leukocytosis. According to the Jones criteria, a patient can only be diagnosed with rheumatic fever if he/she has 2 major or 1 major and 2 minor criteria combined with evidence for recent streptococcal infection for the diagnosis of rheumatic fever.
These criteria are well-grounded, but can’t be seen as the absolute guideline. Whether a patient has RHD should be determined according to the specific conditions.
Keywords: rheumatic heart disease criteria; jones criteria rheumatic heart disease