Childhood acute rheumatic fever in Greece: Experience of the past 18 years


S Kostaridou, 1st Department of Pediatrics, “Aghia Sophia” Children's Hospital, Thivon and Levathias Street, GR-1152 7 Athens, Greece (Tel. +30 1 746 7129, fax. +30 1 779 7649,


This study reports on the authors' experience with acute rheumatic fever (ARF) during the years 1980–1997. The objectives were to estimate the incidence of the disease an area of Greece to characterize its epidemiology, to determine the frequency of the antecedent symptoms and to describe its clinical presentation. The medical records of 66 confirmed cases admitted to the First Department of Pediatrics, “Aghia Sophia” Children's Hospital, were reviewed. Two outbreaks occurred during this period. In contrast to the 3–4 cases seen every year, 14 cases were diagnosed during the 6 mo period from October 1989 to March 1990. An additional 10 cases were diagnosed in 1993. Most of the children (76%) were between 8 and 14 y old. The children were predominantly from middle-class families with ready access to medical care. Carditis, evident by auscultation, and arthritis were the dominant major manifestations in 70% and 68% of the cases, respectively. Mild carditis was present in 54% of children with valvular disease.

Conclusion: ARF exists in the paediatric Greek population with exacerbations and remissions, but the cardiac manifestations appear mild or moderate.