If your child has signs or symptoms of rheumatic fever, you're likely to start by seeing your family doctor or a specialist in children's medicine (pediatrician). However, your doctor may refer you to a heart specialist (pediatric cardiologist) for some diagnostic tests. Because appointments can be brief, it's a good idea to prepare for your appointment.
What you can do
Make a list ahead of time that you can share with your doctor. Your list should include:
- Symptoms your child is experiencing or has recently experienced, even if the symptoms don't seem related to each other
- Recent illnesses your child has had
- Medications, including vitamins or supplements, that your child takes or has recently taken
- Questions for your doctor
List questions for your doctor from most important to least important in case time runs out. If you think your child is showing signs or symptoms of rheumatic fever, you may ask some of the following questions:
- Does my child have rheumatic fever?
- What other conditions could cause these symptoms?
- What kinds of tests will my child need now and in the future?
- What is the best treatment?
- Will rheumatic fever or its treatment have any effect on my child's other health conditions?
- How much do I need to restrict my child's activities?
- Is my child still contagious? For how long?
- What type of follow-up is needed?
- Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can take home with me? What websites do you recommend visiting?
In addition to the questions that you've prepared to ask your doctor, don't hesitate to ask questions during your appointment.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions. Being ready to answer them may reserve time to go over any points you want to spend more time on. Your doctor may ask:
Feb. 18, 2014
- When did your child's signs and symptoms first appear?
- How have these signs and symptoms changed over time?
- Has your child had a cold or flu recently? What were the symptoms?
- Has your child been exposed to a known case of strep throat?
- Was your child recently diagnosed with strep throat or scarlet fever?
- Did your child take all of the antibiotics to treat strep throat or scarlet fever as prescribed?
- Bonow RO, et al. Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2012. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?eid=4-u1.0-B978-1-4377-0398-6..C2009-0-59734-6--TOP&isbn=978-1-4377-0398-6&about=true&uniqId=236798031-10. Accessed Aug. 12, 2013.
- Longo DL, et al. Harrison's Online. 18th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=4. Accessed Aug. 12, 2013.
- Rheumatic fever. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Health Care Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/pediatrics/rheumatic_fever/rheumatic_fever.html. Accessed Aug. 12, 2013.
- Marijon E, et al. Rheumatic heart disease. The Lancet. 2012;379:953.
- Goldman L, et al. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2012. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Aug. 12, 2013.
- Chow AW, et al. Evaluation of acute pharyngitis in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Aug. 12, 2013.
- Gibofsky A, et al. Epidemiology and pathogenesis of acute rheumatic fever. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Aug. 12, 2013.
- Schmitt BD. Pediatric Telephone Protocols. 13th ed. Elk Grove Village, Ill.: American Academy of Pediatrics; 2011:1.
- Mankad R (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Oct. 4, 2013.