There may be a history of sore throat for several weeks before Sydenham chorea.
Blood tests that may show signs of rheumatic fever include erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR). Other blood tests may show proteins in the blood associated with Sydenham chorea and a past strep infection.
Different blood tests may be done to identify whether the child may have a strep infection.
Antibiotics are used to kill the bacteria that cause rheumatic fever. The doctor may also prescribe antibiotics to prevent future rheumatic fever infections. This is called preventive antibiotics, or antibiotic prophylaxis.
Symptoms will be treated as appropriate. Sedation may be needed in severe cases.
Sydenham chorea usually clears up in a few months. In rare cases, an unusual form of Sydenham chorea may begin later in life.
No complications are expected.
When to Contact a Medical Professional
Call your health care provider if your child develops uncontrollable or jerky movements, especially if the child has recently had a sore throat.
Pay careful attention to children's complaints of sore throats and get early treatment to prevent acute rheumatic fever. If there is a strong family history of rheumatic fever, be especially watchful, because your children may be more likely to develop this infection.
Jankovic J. Movement disorders. In: Daroff RB, Fenichel GM, Jankovic J, Mazziotta JC, eds. Bradley's Neurology in Clinical Practice. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2012:chap 71.
Lang AE. Other movement disorders. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 417.
Joseph V. Campellone, MD, Department of Neurology, Cooper University Hospital, Camden, NJ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.