Great confusion has prevailed in the use of the term rheumatism, since it has been applied to all sorts of painful affections of the joints and even to more indefinite muscular pains. Deforming types of arthritis have been included, and such expressions as rheumatoid arthritis have been employed. But for many years it has been recognized that there is one condition in which painful swelling of the joints is variously combined with tonsillitis, chorea, fever, subcutaneous nodules and especially with profound disease of the heart, that stands apart from all the rest and is most commonly known as acute rheumatic fever. I shall speak simply of rheumatism, to refer to this condition, because it seems that the term applies properly to no other.
Rheumatism is an infectious disease that occurs in children or in young adults, sometimes with a very acute course, more often progressing slowly with several explosions of
MacCALLUM WG. RHEUMATISM: THE HARRINGTON LECTURE. JAMA. 1925;84(21):1545–1551. doi:10.1001/jama.1925.02660470007001
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