The introduction of steroids has presented a new therapeutic approach to the treatment of rheumatic fever. This problem has been the subject of extensive studies over the past few years. The detailed observations made in an effort to evaluate the effect of hormone therapy have resulted in a renewed interest in many aspects of this disease.
In 1955, when a newly synthesized steroid, prednisone, became available, a study was undertaken to test its effectiveness in children with rheumatic fever. The objectives of this study were (1) to determine the relative anti-inflammatory potency of this new steroid in rheumatic fever; (2) to determine what proportion of children with rheumatic carditis treated early in their first attack with large amounts of prednisone for a prolonged period would escape permanent cardiac damage; (3) to determine whether extension of steroid therapy to 14 weeks, in contrast to the conventional 6 weeks, would reduce the