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Heart, lung & circulation

Acute rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease--priorities in prevention, diagnosis and management. A report of the CSANZ Indigenous Cardiovascular Health Conference, Alice Springs 2011.


PMID 22726405

Abstract

Three priority areas in the prevention, diagnosis and management of acute rheumatic fever (ARF) and rheumatic heart disease (RHD) were identified and discussed in detail: 1. Echocardiography and screening/diagnosis of RHD – Given the existing uncertainty it remains premature to advocate for or to incorporate echocardiographic screening for RHD into Australian clinical practice. Further research is currently being undertaken to evaluate the potential for echocardiography screening. 2. Secondary prophylaxis – Secondary prophylaxis (long acting benzathine penicillin injections) must be seen as a priority. Systems-based approaches are necessary with a focus on the development and evaluation of primary health care-based or led strategies incorporating effective health information management systems. Better/novel systems of delivery of prophylactic medications should be investigated. 3. Management of advanced RHD – National centres of excellence for the diagnosis, assessment and surgical management of RHD are required. Early referral for surgical input is necessary with multidisciplinary care and team-based decision making that includes patient, family, and local health providers. There is a need for a national RHD surgical register and research strategy for the assessment, intervention and long-term outcome of surgery and other interventions for RHD.

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