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There are considerable data on the possible association between streptococcal infection and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), particularly the relation between Sydenham’s chorea (SC) and OCD. However, neuropsychiatric sequelae related to streptococcal infection are mainly reported in children. In this preliminary study, we examined prevalence of OCD in a group of adult subjects with established rheumatic heart disease (RHD). We hypothesized that the rate of OCD would be higher than the known general population rates.
One hundred adult subjects with RHD were evaluated for OCD and other comorbid psychiatric disorders using well-known psychiatric assessment tools. A qualified psychiatrist conducted the assessments. The diagnoses were made according to DSM-IV criteria.
The rate of clinical OCD and subclinical OCD was 10% and 3%, respectively (n = 13), a rate much higher than the 1–3% rate reported in general population. Of the 13 subjects, only three had a history of SC (23%).
OCD could be a long-term sequel in adults with a history of rheumatic fever in childhood, even in the absence of frank chorea. The findings call for systematic research in this little explored area.
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