Purpose: To inform providers of one of the rare but significant consequences that result from not diagnosing and treating streptococcal pharyngitis: Sydenham’s chorea (St. Vitus’ dance).
Data sources: Current Internet sources including review articles, informational articles, online medical textbooks, and professional organization Web sites.
Conclusion: It is vital that each case of streptococcal pharyngitis be treated with appropriate antibiotic therapy. Doing so will help prevent the sequelae associated with streptococcal infections, such as acute rheumatic fever (ARF) and Sydenham’s chorea.
Implications for practice: Streptococcal pharyngitis is a common illness that has the potential to cause very serious consequences. The consequences may be life altering, such as suffering permanent heart damage. With appropriate diagnosis and treatment with antibiotics, the sequelae of ARF and Sydenham’s chorea can be prevented.