Merck Manual

Please confirm that you are not located inside the Russian Federation

honeypot link
How Do Doctors Diagnose Rheumatic Fever?

How Do Doctors Diagnose Rheumatic Fever?

Doctors use the modified Jones criteria to help them diagnose rheumatic fever. Doctors diagnose children with rheumatic fever if they have had a streptococcal infection and 2 major criteria or 1 major criterion and 2 minor criteria:

  • Major criteria for rheumatic fever:

    • Inflammation of the heart (carditis)

    • Jerky, uncontrollable movements (Sydenham chorea)

    • Rash (erythema marginatum)

    • Redness, pain, and swelling (arthritis) in several joints

    • Bumps (nodules) under the skin

  • Minor criteria for rheumatic fever:

    • Pain in several joints (without redness or swelling)

    • Elevated erythrocyte sedimentation rate or C-reactive protein

    • Fever

    • Abnormal heart rhythms