Echocardiogram screenings can prevent rheumatic heart disease
Cardiologists from Children's National Medical Center recently conducted a study in Africa on the detection of rheumatic heart disease (RHD), the world's most common acquired cardiovascular disease, affecting approximately 15 million people. Nearly 5,000 school-aged children in Uganda were screened, of which, 130 had abnormal echocardiograms. Among these, 72 children were found to have rheumatic heart disease (RHD) after further evaluation in a hospital. Previous clinical evaluation only revealed 23 children had RHD. Result of the new study shows an increase of 400 percent in identification using an echocardiogram. This will allow early intervention to prevent RHD to cause more serious disease and complications. The researchers recommended that there should be focus screening on children 10 years old in lower socioeconomic groups, a two-staged approach to RHD detection, and continued support to global efforts to treat subclinical RHD.