The records of 180 patients out of 247 with bacterial endocarditis were examined. 50 patients had rheumatic manifestations. In 10 there was arthritis of 2-12 weeks' duration before diagnosis; 19 had myalgia/arthralgia; 17 had back or neck pain; 14 had demonstrable arthritis; and 2 tenosynovitis of the foot. Of the 14 patients with arthritis, 8 had monarticular arthritis and 6 polyarticular. All but one patient had a raised erythrocyte sedimentation rate, and in one patient rheumatoid factor was positive. The rheumatic features responded when the endocarditis was treated. Some of the symptoms undoubtedly resulted from the infection and fever of the endocarditis, and emboli may have caused the transient aches but there was no evidence that they caused the synovitis in the patients with arthritis. The rheumatic manifestations of bacterial endocarditis can mimic other rheumatic diseases and disguise the underlying disease.
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