The protean symptomatology of rheumatic fever undoubtedly, in many instances, accounts for the difficulty encountered by physicians and medical students in the correct diagnosis of this disease. The fact that textbooks mention as many as fifty different clinical conditions whose manifestations are such that they might, under certain circumstances, be considered in making a differential diagnosis of rheumatic fever1 tends to make more complex rather than to simplify the arrival by physicians at the correct diagnosis. Because early recognition and treatment comprise at the present time our most effective weapon in combating this devastating disease of childhood, confusion and delay in correct diagnosis may have far reaching and serious results.
The belief that a practical approach to this problem might lie in a study of the disorders which are most frequently confused with rheumatic fever by the practicing physician prompted me to review the diagnoses made by physicians referring to
HANSEN AE. CONDITIONS CAUSING CONFUSION IN THE DIAGNOSIS OF RHEUMATIC FEVER IN CHILDREN: ANALYSIS OF DIAGNOSES MADE BY PRACTICING PHYSICIANS IN 271 RHEUMATIC SUBJECTS. JAMA. 1943;121(13):987–991. doi:10.1001/jama.1943.02840130001001
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