Doppler echocardiography facility is now available in most parts of the world and its routine use for the initial diagnosis of acute rheumatic fever (ARF) might enhance its early detection and, hence, prevention of rheumatic recurrences. To add to the existing evidence and to reemphasize the need of including echocardiography as a diagnostic criterion for ARF, we investigated the pattern and prevalence of subclinical valvulitis by Doppler echocardiography in patients with ARF manifesting as either pure chorea or isolated arthritis but without clinical signs of carditis. This prospective study was carried out in a single center over a period of 6 months (June to December 2006). Thirty patients with ARF, 16 males and 14 females, aged 4–15 years (mean: 10 ± 3.2) presenting with either chorea or isolated arthritis were included by convenience sampling. Evidence of carditis as detected by echocardiography was present in 21 patients (70%). Chorea was the presenting feature in 19 patients (63%), followed by migratory polyarthritis in 11 (37%). Among patients with chorea, 13 (68%) had evidence of carditis. Mitral regurgitation (MR) was present in all 13, being isolated in 11 and with aortic regurgitation (AR) in 2 patients. In patients with migratory polyarthritis, 8 (73%) had evidence of carditis, all with isolated MR. Echocardiography detected subclinical valvulitis in at least 70% of patients with ARF presenting with either rheumatic chorea or migratory arthritis but no clinical evidence of carditis. MR was the predominant lesion present in all patients either in isolation (90%) or in combination with AR (10%). We suggest that Doppler echocardiography be performed in all patients with suspected ARF and evidence of subclinical valvulitis be used as a diagnostic criterion.